I woke up thinking: Bleh! Another birthday! This was not helped by the fact that the Mauritian had managed to forget my birthday for the second year in a row so no breakfast in bed and no birthday presents either. Thank goodness for my lifelong friend who can be relied on to always remember and this year was the first to wish me. My Angel from Auckland made my day when she called to confirm our weekend away next month! Then my folks called on that marvellous invention called “Skype” and though it was good to talk to them I was late and consequently way behind schedule. My being behind schedule is nothing unusual but the day had been going quite well for a change. Oh well such is life!
The Mauritian did eventually remember before leaving for work so he was forgiven. It’s very hard not to forgive him when he looks at me with those puppy dog eyes and seems close to tears and he knows it too! He did of course redeem himself when he told me to do some retail therapy on the credit card. I have a feeling he regretted his words as soon as he said them, but I didn’t hang around on the phone long enough for him to put a limit on it.
So after charging about the house getting the three of us ready we rushed up the hill fifteen minutes late for kindy. My intention was to go straight into town from the Kindy but I had to go home first because I’d managed to leave my purse at home. That’s nothing unusual either; I’m sure one of these days I will leave both the girls behind and head off to Kindy by myself! So after going back home, having a coffee and gathering my wits back together I headed out to town with a plan of action in mind. First stop the kids clothing shop, my girl’s need winter wear.
I was standing in “T ’n T” trying to decide which jacket or pants to get and whether to get the girls matching outfits or not when I realised what I was doing. I had been given a limitless shopping spree as my birthday present and I was spending it on my daughters? I put the clothes back on the shelf and left the shop with a different plan of action, there was stuff I really needed and a few things I wanted. Today I was putting myself first for a change. The first thing I bought was a pie plate; I wanted an apple pie for dessert.
As I wondered from shop to shop I began to reflect on this “getting older” malarkey. I listen to the Butterfly say everyday: “I can’t wait to go to big school!” or “Mum when I’m older can I...?” and “I wish I was old enough to walk to kindy by myself.” My talented mum used to tell me to stop wishing my life away. I didn’t listen I doubt the Butterfly will either! We spend our youth wishing we were grownups and spend our adulthood wishing we were kids again. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times a grown up warns against such futile wishes, as kids we just refuse to take advantage of hindsight. As teenagers the Mauritian and I used to spend hours discussing what we would do once we reach that elusive adulthood. Not too long ago the Mauritian came home and said he had found something that will make me smile. I was “face booking” at the time and answered with a distracted: “That’s nice!” and thought nothing more of it. That is until from his custom built speakers burst forth the Beach Boys song, “Wouldn’t it be nice!” The words to the chorus are: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older then we wouldn’t have to wait so long...” We were at a house party of one of the Mauritians schools friends the first time we heard it and we both thought it was rather appropriate at the time. It has over the years become “our song!” More than twenty years later we are singing: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were younger...”
Recently I have been saying that I want to learn Merlin’s secret and start aging backwards, I only want to go back as far as twenty one and then I’ll go forward again. I don’t want to be a teenager again I like being an adult and responsible for myself and my actions. I also want to be able to take all the wisdom that you gain with age and experience back with me too, I want the advantage of hind sight on my way back. While typing a thought crossed my mind: I wonder how Merlin coped with the ability to see into his future which was technically his past? That would make an interesting dinner table discussion!
But I digress, back to my reflection...
Over the years I have seen many interviews with famous people where they talk about celebrating their fortieth birthday and the epiphanies that occur. Oprah Winfrey called it her “Aha” moment. I wonder if it’s just these celebrities or do the regular mum’s and wives have these moments too. More importantly did my mum go through it and will it happen to me? I don’t feel like I should be thirty nine, in fact I don’t feel a day over twenty five. I guess having such young kids does help because most of the mum’s I come into contact with are closer to twenty five then thirty nine. Before we had children the Mauritian and I had busy social lives and most of our friends were anything from five to fifteen years older than us. Now we have children our social life is a lot more subdued and our circle of friends suddenly seem to be from five to fifteen years younger than us. When did that happen and how did that happen? In our twenties was it so important to us to appear older and more experienced that we surrounded ourselves with people that much older than us and now in our late thirties do we have a desire to feel younger and thus surround ourselves with youngsters? I hope not, I don’t like the idea of not being comfortable with who I am.
So while I strolled in and out of shops spending with abandon I marvelled at the speed at which I had reach my thirty ninth birthday and I did begin to wonder if I had done anything important with my life or if that was still going to happen. I did eventually run out of ideas of what to buy so laden down with packages I began to make my way home and my mind turn to my folks and their philosophy on getting older. I don’t know what it is but it seems to me they didn’t seem to mind getting older, they may look older but they are not old. Then I remembered something my father said when he turned fifty: “Life is too short!” and twenty years later I realise just how right he was. Life is far too short to worry about getting older or the speed at which time passes. In reality the time that we exist is merely a moment in eternity and time actually goes by at the same pace day after day, it is our minds and attitudes that create the illusions of time moving faster. At that moment I opened my front door and realised I felt a lot better about having a birthday. I put it down to retail therapy but then I went to fetch the Butterfly and in a moment of generosity took her to the bakery to get a “snack pack.” On our way back we were admiring the flowers in the gardens we past and admiring the trees in their autumn coats. I was pointing out a bumble bee and the pollen on its legs when I notices a Praying Mantis. I am fascinated by this insect and very enthusiastically pointed it out to the Butterfly who seemed equally impressed. We were then allowed the privilege of watching the Mantis catch and eat a fly, the most amazing thing for me was watching the fascination on the Butterfly’s face and her complete absorption in the moment. When it was over she looked at me and whispered: “Mum, did you see that?” It was at that moment that I realised that it doesn’t matter how old I get I will always be able to see the world through the eyes of my daughters so it will always be fresh and new and fascinating. The best part is that while looking through their eyes at the world I will have the benefit of hindsight.
Then last night while I juggled feed times bath times and cooking I had my “Aha” moment. I realised that these moments are not unique to celebrities’ and that my moment was extra special. You see I realised that thanks to a hungry Praying Mantis I had discovered Merlin’s secret and from now on I shall be aging backwards with the help of my kids.
So now I shall wake up every morning with a spring in my step because I know that getting older doesn’t mean I’m getting old it’s a reason to celebrate my life, my loves and my memories. I shall embrace every moment and absorb every minute because life’s to short to not take the time to marvel at a hungry Praying Mantis or watch an autumn leaf drift slowly from a tree.
From now on I shall live every day like it is my first.