Yesterday I was at my niece’s 8th birthday party, and my mum had pulled out a photo of our family on my 8th birthday to show me, and the (other) birthday girl.
The photo was of my dad’s parents, my parents, my older brother, my younger brother and moi, taken on my 8th birthday, exactly 40 years ago.
As you can se, I was rocking long light brown hair, (is that a Bay City Rollers tee? I can’t quite tell) a denim skirt, long white socks, and fabulous red Mary Janes. Check out my mum’s shirt – epically cool 70s! My dad is wearing a singlet because he was, and is, a bit of a rebel! He knew eye-rolling and tut-tutting would ensue, so he rocked that singlet quite provocatively. God I love that man!
The quite fuzzy photo doesn’t include either of my sisters (both now in their 30s), as they weren’t born then.
They were standing in the kitchen at the party yesterday, one with her baby boy in her arms, and one hosting her daughter’s 8th birthday party.
As I showed the photo to my dad, it occurred to me just how long this adulting caper can go on, if we’re lucky.
I looked at my dad looking at that photo, seeing himself as a 38 year old father of three. When that photo was snapped, he and mum had been married about 13 years, he was a successful builder, he barracked for Essendon, and both his parents were alive.
Standing in the kitchen today, dad is 78 years old and happily retired, his parents have both been dead for decades, and he’s the much loved father of five, and a loving, involved, shit-stirring grandfather to eight.
His laugh is the same. It’s the best sound.
Life is (hopefully) a long game.
Families go on and on, down the generations, from our grandparents then parents being children, to becoming young adults, then newlyweds, buying their first home, and along we come – first child, second, third, fourth, fifth.
Work gets busy, then worryingly slow; there’s sickness; family holidays; stressful times; happy times; and night after night of sausages and mashed potatoes; mountains of laundry; family get togethers; scraped knees; cousins; ageing grandparents to care for; the children grow up, then move out, and on and on it goes.
I felt so privileged to sit in my family home on my 48th birthday, with my parents, my sisters, and two of the next generation of our family, amidst noise and squeals and all those pink presents, at my #favouritehuman’s 8th birthday party.
Pass the sausage rolls dad, we could be here a while.