on living longer than your Mum

tomorrow will be my birthday.  I have never liked having a January birthday, in the post Christmas period there is never any money about, people have given me lovely gifts just a month ago, and the weather is usually cold and miserable.  I used to envy my sister, her July birthday always seemed more cheery to me. Friends gathering together in the garden wearing pretty summer party dresses, it was all so much brighter.

Anyway, January is the month in which I was born, so I am stuck with it I guess.  As the day grows nearer family have been asking me what gifts I would like, and in truth, there is nothing I need. I have never been any good at buying things for myself, and cannot change that now.  I am becoming mildly grumpy at having to worry about what people are going to buy for me, you would think this is the one day I was not responsible for, instead I am greeted with complaints that I cannot give everyone a shopping list!

Still, this is the one birthday I have anticipated for a long time.  Tomorrow I will officially be older than my Mum ever was.  I will see the days that were lost to her. I will hold my Granddaughter and love her, something Mum never got to do.  I know I am fortunate to do so, and all the presents in the world are nothing compared to having time with the people I love.  The time we were denied with my Mum, and she will be on my mind more tomorrow than usual.

I am going to make the most of this year, as if somehow it is a bonus year, a time that was never promised. Having cheated death as a baby, I do feel keenly the need to make the most of each day of every moment.  Yes, I get bogged down in the mundane, in the shopping, washing, cooking, chatting and paying bills every day life we all have to get along with.  Within this I want to look for the unexpected.  I want to live in the moment, to focus on now and while planning for the future is important, and the past teaches us much, it is this moment, now, that is important.

With this in mind I am setting myself some pledges for this extraordinary year and for the years hopefully to come.  I will say to Mum, look I am not going to waste this time.  I am going to embrace it and live it as well as I can.

Whenever I think about my Mum I can still see her face the last time I ever saw her and it was full of hope.  She was being carried by the ambulance men downstairs on her way to hospital for the very last time. We had just told her I was pregnant and she was delighted she was going to be a Grandma, or a Nana or a Nina, we will never know the name she would have chosen as she wasn’t here when her Grandson arrived some six months later.  However, on that day at that time, she was happy, she was telling the ambulance men the lovely news and was glowing with pride, at me, the daughter who had probably tested her so much, and who was going to be a Mum herself.

All that was a long, long time ago.  I have lived longer without her than we had her, and now, tomorrow I will be older than she ever was.  So the pledges are important.  Mum I promise

I will live each day and give it my best shot,I will enjoy the moment and make the most of opportunities

I will make sure everyone I love knows I love them and I will do everything in my power to support them

I will try hard, and never say I can’t, because Mum, ‘Somebody said it couldn’t be done’ and they were wrong

I will laugh more than I cry and listen as much as I talk, (wow, that might be difficult but I will give it a go)

Most of all I will remember you Mum, and my lovely Dad and live the life you were both denied.

Crying now, but positive tears, I am strong and I am happy, I have a wonderful life, I just need to get on with living it.

I think I will bake myself a birthday cake this afternoon, something to share with everyone when they bring all the lovely presents tomorrow!

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