I was just thinking…………

………………about birthdays. Oh, yes, it’s that time again, and I’ve just had one - again. Sigh…..how things change. Back in the wagon wheel days I was just like any other kid, I suppose. My birthday used to be the major event of the year for me. I’d begin to get really excited months before the big day, and the countdown would be slow and agonising and interminable! That feeling of childlike birthday excitement lasted well into my adult years but this last decade, it’s been my girls reminding me – the older ones with a particularly nasty gleeful grin – that the ‘big’ day is drawing near and what shall we do to celebrate.
‘Oh, let’s see…. hide under the doona? Can I do that?’ Yeah – likely!

This time, on the ‘big’ day, I crawled out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. I don’t need an alarm clock. I did away with one of those when I gradually started to not look so nice when I woke up. When I started to wear passion-killer nightwear to hide the shifting shape. When the crumply sleep lines began to take a disturbing amount of time to iron out. When my eyes began to remain in puffy sleep mode all day, and when my hair started to lose its youthful lustre and its morning tangle didn’t look quite so sexy anymore. That’s when I did away with the alarm clock – why get two shocks in the space of moments! All I need to do these days to fully waken is to glance in the mirror on my way to the loo!

Anyway, back to what I was telling you. I got up – on the day, and stumbled to the bathroom. Determined not to look at anything else for fear of starting the day in a depressed state of mind, I focussed only on my hair – and there, sure as my sister is psychic, were a thousand silver-grey hairs. Why they suddenly appeared, all of them at once, overnight, is my sister’s fault! She’s been predicting my gradual physical downfall for years now.

Just before I turned 45 my older sister said, ‘ You just wait Lori, the day you turn 45 your eyesight will be gone! ‘

It worried me a bit, but naaaa….. 20:20 vision, so no worries, she’ll be wrong.

……..But she wasn’t. I had a clairvoyant for a sister. I swear, the very day the 45th birthday came around, I got up and could not focus till at least lunchtime.
Just before I turned 50, that same sister said . ‘You just wait Lori, when you get up on your next birthday, you will have put on 10 lbs and you won’t know where it’s come from or where it actually is sitting, but the scales will tell you that you’re 10lbs heavier, and you’ll never lose it. It won’t budge.
It worried me a bit, but naaa….I’d been 7stone 7 since I was fifteen, through two children and a marriage, so no worries, she’ll be wrong.

……..But she wasn’t. The psychic sister proved herself again. Honestly, the very day I turned 50 I got on the scales and yes, 8 stone 3 lbs. And I can’t lose it. It will not budge, no matter what.

Well, it just goes on and on and gets worse and worse and that sister of mine should be setting up a silk tent with bells on it, at the fair grounds. She’d make a fortune. What was it this year? Oh yes, my hair would turn grey overnight. Well, it’s lucky I like playing with colour so much, that’s all I can say. She’s wrong anyway, this time she’s wrong. It’s silver. It is not grey. I do not have grey hair. (Me thinks she doth protest too much?)

And well in advance of next birthday, I’m booking an appointment to choose a style of hearing horn that suits me, because sister Fatima did warn me that all of us siblings have my mother’s ears, and that a few short birthdays down the track will surely find me deaf. (I just hope I - unlike Mother - remember to turn the hearing aparatus on.) And that brings me to the next disastrous downfall which is already showing signs of proving my sister’s accuracy……um, oh yes……memory. She did forewarn me about that but I can’t remember which birthday will rob me of it.

It’s all a bit disconcerting isn’t it, contemplating the process of substituting and trading in those little bits and pieces of ourselves that we’ve taken for granted for so long. Those little bits that start to falter and fail, as time dictates that we begin to reach for our little memo pads, our glasses and hair colours and hearing aides. NO, maybe I should just be looking at this whole thing a little differently. Maybe I should just trade in my darling sister for a more positive model.

Hmmm…on what birthday should I do that?


Lori Spencer