The party's over!
Not just Christmas, but a three-day event to mark a milestone for me - an 80th birthday. To have a separate birthday celebration is a wonderful thing. Those born just before or just after or even exactly at Christmas will know what I mean - the combined Christmas and birthday presents, the excuses of the shops being too full or empty or closed. Galling for a child, understandable (of course) to an adult, but how lovely to have a special day for oneself. Even tougher for me as a child because no less than four generations in my family shared the same birthday, Great Grandfather, Grandfather, Uncle and me. Whatever was going on nine months earlier in this family?
Both my sons were born in January, both in the midst of severe and prolonged snow storms, so we tried to ensure that they had mid-summer celebrations with half a birthday cake each.The midsummer celebration was reintroduced this year by my elder son, and may be continued in 2020. However, the January birthdays remain an excellent example of family planning as the things they had hoped for at Christmas were so often half-price in the January sales.
I had a very happy gathering of friends and family for my 70th birthday, which seems only a couple of years ago. The one thing I never appreciated until now is that how ever crumbling the external body appears the inner person remains at an optimum age. My optimum age is 28 and I'm still there inside, even when I struggle to get out of a chair or fall over in the garden.
My grandchildren know my true inner age and give me huge encouragement in being silly, making up ridiculous songs and poems, telling nonsensicle stories and generally acting as if I'm closer to their age than my own. This birthday was with family, coming from far and wide, including a soon-to-be born grandchild whose rest was disturbed quite a bit by cousins wanting to feel a kick and to invite him/her to come out soon. In beautiful weather we all went up on the hills here, and I haven't done that for a long time. Back at home I did no washing up at all Three-year old Grandson entertained us (and probably a few neighbours) on his drum kit (thanks to Uncle) and some of us might have snoozed slightly in front of a log fire.
Now they are all back in their own places, or almost so for the long-distance ones, and the year slides into a misty end and into a future that is likely to be as messy as my kitchen.
Muddles can be cleaned, confusions can be clarified. For all of us apparently small things, encouragement to get up the hill and a hand wielding a tea-towel can mean a very great deal.
Happy New Year to all with the real hope for peace and goodwill.