Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm HOW old??

This post originally appeared at ACME AUTHOR LINKS on Friday, November 21, 2008


Kaye Barley with her Aunt, Eve Burchette, Harley, and her Mom, Hazel Wilkinson.

Thanks to my friend Rob Walker for inviting me to drop by. Rob just recently celebrated a milestone birthday. And I’m following right on his heels. We both agree that we cannot possibly be . . . . . - forget it, I can’t even say it!Let me try again.Six . . . Six . . . Sixty. Sixty years old. HOW did this happen?! I don’t feel 60. And am often told I don’t act 60 (this has not always been meant in a complimentary way)

But oh well, there you have it. Birthdays happen. The milestone birthdays sneak up on us. And while we’re bemoaning those milestone birthdays, other things happen. Like your mom having a birthday. We recently celebrated my mom’s 83rd birthday. At least, I did - only to be told the next week that she had actually just turned 82. Oh, the guilt. Hopefully, she’ll forget that unforgivable lapse. Especially seeing as how I did the exact same thing last year!!

Mom-Hazel Wilkinson

Funny, though, for all the talking she does about her memory and how bad it is, there are things she never forgets. Her only child forgetting how old she is might just be one of them (and as it should be). Before you all start thinking I’m being unkind, please know that she and I have, and always have had, a great relationship. She’s my buddy,and I feel pretty sure she would tell you that I’m hers.

We have not always been best friends though. When I was growing up, she never once let me forget that she was “The Mom.” She didn’t give a twig about being my friend; figuring I already had lots of friends, but I only had one mom, and it was a job she took very seriously.

And she did it well. For one thing, she read to me. And took me to the library. And she taught me how to bake Snickerdoodles. Like some of you, we’ve passed that curve of our family growing larger, and are on the other side of the slope, where its getting smaller, so when we invite family to spend the weekend to celebrate the occasion of Mother’s birth its not as though there’s a house full of people. Just me and Donald and Harley. My mom, her sister Eve, and Eve’s husband J.T. A small little group.

My mom is the second oldest in a family of 11. They’re not all still with us, and those who are live pretty far away and aren’t able to travel long distances for get-togethers any more.

It was a fun weekend. We did all those things families do when they get together - whether they’re a big group, or a small group. We ate too much. We stayed up too late. We told the same stories we tell everytime we’re together. We laughed hysterically, and boo hooed a little.
And we missed the ones who were not there.

It was a perfect weekend, melancholy and nostalgia notwithstanding, and I loved every second of it. But oh laws, did I get tired. Seemed like every time I turned around someone was saying “sweetie, would you bring me a fresh cup ofcoffee/coke/wine/whatever, please.”

At one point during the weekend when I felt as though everyone was well settled,and that they were doing fine at entertaining themselves, and that they all had their beverage of choice, I slipped off to the bedroom to close the door and read. I’m used to a lot of quiet time, and quiet time is in short supply in an itty bitty house with three extra people.

This was just what I needed. I am after all, almost 60! I get tired too you know! But then, you know what? The door opened and peeking around at me was this very short little woman with fluffy white hair, and the sweetest smile and thebrightest eyes, wanting to know if I was O.K. I invited her in and she climbed up on the bed next to me, took my hand and thanked me for having her over for her birthday. And she told me what a good daughter she thought I was.

Next thing I know here comes another woman, this one a little taller, but with the same sweet smile and the same bright eyes - peeking around the door at us,wanting to know if we were O.K. We invited her in and she climbed up on the bed with us. She patted my hand and told me what a good niece she thought Iwas. I put my book away, fluffed up pillows for us all, and asked who might want a fresh cup of coffee.

Quiet time and that book would be there tomorrow when everyone else had gone home. Tomorrow I can go back to being almost 60. Today it feels nice being 6 and being told what a good girl I am.

Kaye -- this was lovely, well put, so well put. Loved the way it came full circle! - Rob Walker

Comments from original post can be seen at ACME AUTHOR LINKS.


B.G. Ritts said...

Happy birthday on Wednesday, Kaye!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthdayyyyyy, dear Kayyyyye, happy birthday to you! And many more!

So glad you re-posted this here so I can comment. Loved the story of your mom and aunt checking on you. A sweet moment.

And what a picture - is that Harley looking out at the snow?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

BG - Thanks, kiddo!!!! Hope you're having a great Thanksgiving holiday in Pennsylvania. Safe travels!!

Deborah - you sang that sooooo beautifully, thank you!

That is indeed Harley looking out at the snow. I'm not usually a great photographer, but that was a very lucky shot. Down that bank is our pond, and a creek, and I think Harley must have spotted something down there that captured his attention. Looks like he's having a Zen moment, doesn't it? Ha!
Happy Thanksgiving to you, sweetie!