Birthday Musings

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?


  1. Felicitations on the day!

    I was harshly reminded this year that I’m too old to accomplish what was once a life goal. Other than that, I don’t feel old, so I maintain that I’m not. I still have things to learn and adventures to endure… er, enjoy.

  2. Many happy returns!

    It’s interesting for those of us who are dependent on modern medicine. I can point to the exact point where I would have died if I had been born a hundred years earlier. It’s one of those things that makes me glad for modern civilization and willing to stick my middle fingers out to nature.

    1. i can think of some kids who need this stuff pointed out to them as they pontificate about how much easier life used to be…

  3. It is hard to note that a cousin, who would be 53 now, had ultimately survived her birth defects. She was a Fighter. Born with spina bifida, not expected to survive 24 hours, let alone to age 13, when her body finally failed her. As told by her parents to others (as never give up) doctors told them to just hold her. That there was nothing they could do. Doctors refused to clean her up after the birth. Aunt & Uncle had to fight for that. Then the medical procedure to close her back, to get her fed, etc.

    They were told she’d never walk. She didn’t unassisted, but she could stand with braces, which helped with muscle tone. But she did crawl. Uncle built a padded rolling device she could lay on and propel with her arms. Just like infants and toddlers everywhere she was then the terror of the floor. He built a lot of the adaptive items as she needed them, some which have been refined for kids today.

    She was going to be extremely retarded and inarticulate. Nope. Bright articulate child that excelled in school in regular classrooms with a physical aid. They had to fight for her to be in the regular classroom. She was the test case out of Arizona for mainstreaming physically handicapped children VS special classroom warehousing (You do NOT want to get my Aunt started on the definition mainstreaming today … “Mainstreaming was NEVER intended for children who couldn’t handle the classwork mentally or were violent.”) From all accounts, from her parents and sibling she was a popular child with her classmates and teachers (by then they had moved many states away and didn’t make it home for family gatherings and I was in college).

    Yes. You could say that her *parents, particularly her father, are, their way or the wrong way.

    * They aren’t that much older than me, about 15 years. While both have more medical issues at 78, than my mom does at 84, they are still here, and still active.

    BTW. Happy almost 50th Birthday

  4. Happy Birthday.

    My anecdote: when I was born (6 weeks premature) my mum was told I’d be in a wheelchair by the time I was thirty on oxygen.

    Her I am shooting arrows, cycling as and when etc. Life is good.

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