Okay, it’s not quite the illustrious anniversary of the day I arrived kicking and screaming after 30 hours of labor, but it’s close. It’s also – to my continuing shock – more than 50 years since that happened. I still haven’t figured out how that one snuck up on me. It just doesn’t seem that long ago that I was in my 20s.
It’s been interesting, I’ll give it that. I could do with a bit less interesting and a bit more enjoyable, but all things considered it could have been a lot worse. Or a lot shorter. Heck, medical care being as little as 10 – 20 years slower I wouldn’t have been born – it took a while for forceps-assists to become standard practice, and I didn’t get the assistance until I was showing signs of distress – which I presume means my heartbeat got way too fast since there really wasn’t much else available in the way of monitoring back then.
Little things make a difference that way. I know for a fact the specialists weren’t sure if I’d be able to walk without remedial treatment because I have a pronounced sway back, knock knees and pigeon toes. I’ll never be a picture of grace and elegance, but I figured out how to waddle around and got some physio treatment as a baby that helped with the sway back. Apparently what the specialists said didn’t matter to me.
But then, the way you get something impossible done is to give it to someone who doesn’t know it’s impossible, so maybe that’s got something to do with things. I wanted to be mobile, I figured out how to make it happen.
Or maybe it’s just the family history of pig-headed stubborn coming into play. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last time. It doesn’t matter how strong the Force is when it meets the original immovable object of my family stubborn – although I usually take the non-confrontational route of sit down, shut up, make the right noises, then figure out how to do what I know I need to do anyway. My grandfather… there were two ways to do things. His way and the wrong way.
I have fond memories of apparently endless summer days, playing on the beach with the whole horde that is my family. I’ve lost track of which of the aunts and uncles connect to who, mostly because they were almost all great-aunts and great-uncles. I’m one of five, my mum was an only child, but her mum was one of seven, and her dad one of five. I don’t even remember how many brothers and sisters dad’s parents had, but it was similar, so there were multitudinous second cousins, and when you got a bunch of the extended clans together it was very much a horde. Mostly we didn’t care who was connected how – close family friends inevitably acquired their own “Aunt” and “Uncle” designation anyway so it was easy to forget which set of aunts and uncles were actually related.
Maybe that’s the sign that I really am approaching that mysterious thing called old age – I’m starting to think of times as “the old days” or even worse, “the good old days”, even though I know there was nothing especially good about them. I maintain it’s a cruel trick of the mind, since the only real difference was that I didn’t have responsibility then. Apparently when one gets sufficiently old, one starts to think of childhood and not being required to work to make a living as some kind of idyllic paradise…
Oh dear. Does this mean half the bloody country is having a severe case of some kind of hysterical premature aging?