Today is August 1st 2021. At 2 am I turned 70. I am now up there in “most vulnerable Australians” cohort! And proud of it! Not only that I am among the 70% of the most vulnerable cohort in the country who is vaccinated, indeed I am double vaccinated. I should get a medal or something!
But as the day draws to a close I am wallowing in the wonder of my journey so far, warts and all, and relishing the fact that there is more to come!
Being a cradle Catholic I know that every great Feast day has a Vigil. Yesterday was my 70th Anniversary of Birth Vigil. I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special. Another Saturday. Watch the COVID update. Yell at the main players. Write my daily Facebook update, perhaps go to a shop, knit, read. Not much else by way of routine except the medication routine. Boy was I wrong.
The first knock on the door was answered by my son. Expecting it to be the usual Saturday knock request re. interest in solar panels or enquiry about selling, he approached hesitantly. Looked at me and said “Mum?” There at the door was a well dressed woman with the biggest hamper of luscious food, even liquorice, champagne, a beautiful fragrant candle and I became a damn burst! I could hardly breathe. It was as if all the sadness of disconnection from our children and theirs we have endured, welled up and having the congenital fault of bladders too close to eyeballs, I was sobbing, hunched over like a real old woman. Aching to hold each one of them, while wanting to revel in the angst of witnessing adult children sort themselves out in front of their mother, across generations. Anyone with children and grandchildren knows what I am talking about.
This beautiful woman, cried with me – what a scene!
“People like you make my job worthwhile” she said.My daughter in lockdown in Sydney had sent the hamper to me.
Husband went off on his usual Saturday trip (double vaccinated too) and there followed a never ending procession of deliveries.
It got to the point where I was worried that people would think there had been a death in the family. My wonderful Sister/Cousin who had sent me a beautiful hand made card earlier in the week sent me daffodils and irises. Not five minutes later, another knock at the door and a glorious bouquet of lilies and champagne. Gift from Port Macquarie family. Hardly settled again and another knock at the door and flowers, the likes of which I have never seen, in glorious shades of reds and purple, natives and traditional European. Same delivery man! He was confused because while the street name and number were the same, my Mexican (Victoria) son refuses to change the name of the suburb to the more upmarket name now in use. The poor fellow had set off to find an address that doesn’t show up on gps! “You must be pretty special” as he handed over the gift bag with candles and chocolate! “You don’t get to be 70 every day and I’m not even 70 yet!”
I own only three vases so there was some emergency rearrangement of floral tributes to get them all safe, sound and sorted! Husband returned with a beautiful posy of roses, and baby’s breath. Fortunately a brass vase from decades ago, long forgotten, turned up at the back of some cupboard. Just the right size for the posy! Inundated completely!
I was restless and stayed up late. Watched a movie that I knew would upset me , but I did it anyway. I wanted to be awake at 2.00am , the time of my birth! Every birthday I can remember Mum would tell the story. “You were born at 2.00am and I looked at the ceiling and I said NEVER AGAIN!” My two younger brothers arrived over the next 7 years!
So the big day arrived and the men of the house presented their gifts. A turtle, Myrtle from Joe. Long Lean and Loveable had an assortment of gifts. A book “The Last Reunion” . I am sure I will enjoy it but the title is a bit foreboding! A cute potted cactus for my desk. Prickly a bit like myself. The biggest box of Roses chocolates I have ever seen and a selection of Ferrero Rocher which turned out to be heralding the piece de resistance – a very lovely Tree of Life pendant “because your strength spreads out like the tree” and my thighs and the rest of me after chocolate, champers, and Chinese for tea!
A most wonderful family chat on messenger had us all in fits in the back yard. Filled with the incredible repartee that goes on between generations including the small fry grandchildren. The back yard reverberated to conversations that must have made the neighbours wonder what had happened to change our usual quiet little yard into a crazy cackle of loudness an laughter. Teenage grandchildren present but generally silent. Doing the right thing and wondering what the hell it was all about but glad to be there I think. I was certainly glad they were there. Year 3 grandchild playing with his mother’s phone, filters, and carry on! Youngest grand daughter squealing with glee in the park. Wild. Wonderful!
After they had all disengaged, Long Lean and Loveable went to his afternoon nap and I went to the source of all of this. I took with me some of the flowers and placed them beneath their names. I sang Ave Maria to the sound of the traffic on the bypass and I felt absolutely held in love. Just as I was approaching the cemetery gates, the phone rang. It was a woman who had been a student way back when I was really young. I treasure her. We laughed and remembered. I love my life.
Arriving home to receive a panic message from lock down daughter. Grandson, 8, has lost a tooth. No access to cash. Can $5 be sent by express post together with a letter from the Tooth Fairy explaining the lockdown does not allow home visits? I took the opportunity to write one for his little sister aged 3, explaining that teeth are for eating pasta and strawberries and not for biting big brothers!
Fortune cookie, post Chinese? Give your love with a big hug!
Consider yourselves hugged!