The 26th of May would have been my sister's 74th birthday. She died (cancer) 22 December 2016. Today is my brother's birthday - he's 68 and mercifully still ticking over.
Birthdays at this age (I'll be 62 come August, God willing) are, em, fraught affairs. Now, for me personally, I LOVE my birthdays - I spend most of the day each year marvelling I've managed to see the day dawn. My sister and brother, er, well, no - my sister hated her birthdays as yet the reminder of yet another year of misery she'd endured on this mortal coil, and my brother hates his as a reminder the clock is ticking down his years on this mortal coil. He's been in a mid-life crisis since 1987.
I had my 'mid-life crisis' on my 21st birthday when my then husband took me to Lion Country Safari near San Jose (we lived in San Francisco at the time) - I was out-to-here pregnant with my daughter (now 40, WOW, I have a 40 year old daughter!) and as I stood there at Lion Country Safari elephant ride waiting area watching my then husband riding while I couldn't owing to my advanced stage of pregnancy, I knew, just knew in my bones this was it and it was all downhill from there.
(FTR - I didn't really want to ride the poor elephant. I hate circus' and I hate captive wild animals being used to entertain people like my jaw-droppingly thick ex, and I found it hideously unfair on MY birthday he was having all the fun while I was hot, miserable, and feeling altogether very hard done by!)
In that moment I just knew I was going to spend the rest of my life watching from the sidelines, raising children and keeping house for a man who's main consistency was making sure I felt like a free-loader for not having a paid working position.
Hmm. Fox's dad had the same consistency of habit to him, so much so that when I finally had enough and kicked him to the kerb, it was with the growled jibe 'You never wanted a wife, you wanted a paycheck you could f**ck!'. And yes - I AM the woman who created the tee-shirt: it's not alimony, it's victims compensation!
For the length of time it took for Dunderhead (the ex) to enjoy his elephant ride, I pondered the bitter unfairness of Life, The Universe, and Everything. The rest of my life is going to be one long blur of complete boredom, I thought to myself. And to my shame, for one brief five minute span back in August 1977 I
let myself think I was about to become bored for the rest of my life.
By the time he dismounted and bounced back to where I was waiting, my mid-life crisis was over, never again to be repeated even when I actually did reach genuine mid-life. Every single day is a gift even when Life seems rather difficult, or perhaps a bit too routine - but never boring...
I think I was about 7, maybe 8, when I said to my best friend - 'I'm bored!'. He immediately replied 'Only stupid people get bored!', and I knew he was right and I've spent the years since then never being bored, ever. Because it's true - if someone is thick, of course they'll become bored as they're not imaginative enough to think of something to do.
He'd be 65 in December if he'd not died aged 57 of Post-Polio Syndrome complications. I got the sugar cube, he got Polio. I don't think a day goes by I don't miss him.
And now more than ever, I strive to never be thick enough to become bored, I always want cake and a big fuss on my birthday, and I always want the same for my loved ones!