It seems as I get older, birthdays become more frequent – they happen much quicker than they used to. I remember as a kid the wait between birthdays or Christmases seemed like it was forever. I sometimes wish that things moved at that pace again.
Birthdays are fun days and I am recovering from a whole weekend of fun, and perhaps one too many martinis on Saturday night. But it also gives me pause to reflect on all of those people around me who are sick, or have loved ones who they are caring for – and who would welcome another birthday or a another festive gathering – just to set as a milestone.
I think back to when my father was dying from cancer – a nasty brain tumour that took him from us at just 60 years of age, My dad was a pretty selfless guy who thought of others first, and the welfare of my Mum and his brood of children always came first. He was a bloody good man, he had great ethics and cared deeply for us all. When he was dying, he set milestones. There were two weddings – two of my brothers – that he hung on for and was present at. There were smaller get togethers and festive events that he was around for as well.
I miss him today – more than most days. I miss that call, very early in the morning. It was one of those things my Dad did. A birthday couldn’t start without that call. For 20 odd years, I have missed that call early in the morning, and I miss my Dad every year – on his birthday, his and Mums wedding anniversary, and Father’s Day.
I am now setting milestones of my own in some ways – as my Mum’s light fades a little more each time I see her, I wonder how much longer we have to share with her. We have been grieving for a few years now as her condition worsens. She has dementia and has gone from a strong and proud woman, to a small, little old lady. It has been incredibly hard to watch and see what an insidious and cruel disease dementia is. But we have had so much time to prepare ourselves.
Back to the milestones… My partner and I just bought a house. It was not something I thought would happen but it has and we are thrilled. Now we have time to settle in and think about a new wall colour here, and a little renovation there. It will be great to set these milestones and think about what might come next, and how lucky I am to be able to set them all.
Today, as I moan about another creak in my bones and complain about being a bit older and a bit less spritely, I am reminded that I am lucky to have all that I have, and so much to look forward to.
Another birthday comes around and I have many to come and so much more to look forward to. Its time to be thankful for what I have and the milestones I can look forward to.