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Beyond the Lone Islands

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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Something Birthday to Us

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29 August, 1931, a little baby boy was born. My dad.

Exactly 24 years later, a little baby girl was born. Me. (Held by my grandmother in the picture.)

It’s not always a barrel of laughs sharing your birthday with another family member. Growing up, I very rarely got to have a birthday party “of my own”, with friends. (For relatives, the “two for one” was probably practical.) In my 20s and 30s, when I did not live in the same town as my parents, I made up for it with quite a few birthday parties with friends, no family (the family celebrations often held either before or after the actual day). At 40 I had my only really big party (about 40 people), including both family and friends. At 50, I went away to celebrate with a few old friends.

Had circumstances been different, I might have tried to make a bit more of turning 55 - also being born in 1955.

Circumstances being what they are, however…

First I allowed myself a very lazy morning. I did not get up (properly) until noon! This was not really because I felt all miserable, but spoiling myself.

Then I went out and bought myself a big bouquet of flowers and enjoyed that while I ate my lunch (which in itself was not all that special).

Then I split the bouquet in half, and in the mid afternoon took one half of it with me on a 45 min bus tour across town, to “celebrate” for an hour with dad at the short-stay nursing home (and then another bus ride home again).

I asked dad if he remembered what day it was. He said yes, but did not elaborate. (I’m not sure, I think the staff might have talked to him about it after I phoned earlier in the day.)

Anyway I suppose it was good I went to see him even if neither of us was exactly in happy birthday mood.

I tried to tell dad briefly about the moving plans, even brought him a couple of pictures of his new place. He again said “yes” but again I’m not sure how much he really takes in. Don’t know how much help photographs are either. Most of the time he sat staring out of the window. I don’t think his eyesight is very good either now. Or perhaps it is mine that isn’t! The thing is that while I see the black roof of the next building in front of some green treetops, dad seems to be seeing a lake. And of course that is really a much better view than mine! It’s just one of those reality clashes that is difficult to handle in conversation “right there and then”…

Going home on the bus, the pictures in my first photo album came to mind. Mum put the baby photo of dad in there for comparison. I’m not sure whether they took the photo of me deliberately in that position, with the old photo in mind, or if it just “happened” that way. My paternal grandfather was a good photographer (and journalist at the local newspaper).

Not to leave you with too sad an impression of my not-exactly-happy birthday, I should probably mention that five birthday cards and one parcel arrived for me before the weekend; and some phone calls have been dropping in as well. One friend even singing to me on the phone! So I’m not really feeling “forgotten”. Just too tired for partying.

3 comments:

Ginny said...

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, dear Monica, Happy Birthday to you!!! If I knew your phone number, I would call you, even though it's overseas! The two baby pictures are amazing, what a coincidence! I am so sorry for the sad time you are going through on this birthday, I have had horrible ones, as well. I hope the package and cards managed to cheer you up.

Sandra said...

A late birtday wish is better than none from me. can you hear me singing with Ginny? we are harmonizing on
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, dear Monica, Happy Birthday to you!!!
don't we sound good. I am going to be 66 in a couple of weeks and I have only had 2 birthday parties in all those years. 1 at age 8 and 1 at age 64, the residents at the nursing home where i voluteer gave me my only for real birthday party. it was fun. you are blessed ot have had those parties and I wish you were having one now. consider us your party people. sleep well and see you tomorrow.

rae said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I hope the next year brings many joys to both you and your father!

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