The last few days have been all about birthdays, well, two birthdays in particular. My darling Mum and my darling Aunt are 90 today. On July 23rd 1923 they made their entrance into this world, my Aunt five minutes before my Mum. Apparently, according to family myth, my Grandmother couldn’t stand sideways in a door frame before she gave birth to two 8lb babies. Twins were an uncommon occurrence in those days, the doctor hadn’t seen them before and the nurse fainted. When Granny Browne took them anywhere she had to factor in the time it would take for people to stop her and stare at the two babies who looked so alike.
They were dressed alike and they fooled teachers at school by changing places randomly. They entered competitions and sang and danced and read poetry and swam and played netball and went to pony club. Mum has always said they didn’t need close friends because they had each other.
Through the years they felt sympathetic pain, they rang each other at the same moment on the phone and were both engaged and they are hilarious together.
On Sunday all their extended family gathered at the Karaka Hall to wish them happy birthday. Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Our first cousins and second cousins and third cousins. Their remaining sisters-in-law and one brother-in-law. It was a grand old country ‘do’. Lots of delicious home cooked finger food and wine and beer and soft drinks. Games for the kids, they had an archaeological dig in the sandpit and sat on balloons to pop them and find gummy snakes. And there were two large cakes, a 9 decorated as a golf hole and a 0 decorated as a race track. They were my first attempt at fruit cake and I have to say, they were rather delicious!!
Today, Tuesday, is their actual birthday. I went into Resthaven to find Mum had cards and flowers. I took in more, a bag of cards and presents people had given me on Sunday, and two photos from me. The large photo of the two of them, dressed in their costumes for the sailor’s hornpipe, made her weep a little.
Her room was full of kind, caring staff. All lovely people who have looked after her every day for a year, they came and sang her “happy birthday” and they cheered her as she blew out the 9 and 0 candles on her #9 cake. They have showered her with hugs and cuddles and made her feel loved all day. Just lovely to see. She is an amazing woman, a strong, courageous, funny, intelligent, warm, happy, 90 year old woman and I continue to be blessed every day of my life that I get to share it with her. I am what, and who, I am because of her and words do not express my gratitude adequately.