October 31, 2005

Birthdaypalooza Part II

It is a truth held to be self evident, punkin, that boys are loved by their mums.

Your mum loves you more than you will ever know, so much that she gets up two or three times in the middle of the night to give you sustenance, either physical or emotional, and asks nothing in return.

For many years, I was mystified by my own mother's requests for, on her birthday, "just a card". I didn't realise then, that a parent's love is overwhelming and all-consuming. That an acknowledgement of that love from your offspring is the greatest gift you can receive. That a smile or a laugh, or a cuddle, is worth every second you spend tearing your hair out and more.

Today, in this country at least, is your grandmother's 55th birthday. She won't mind me telling the world how old she is, she's proud of being that old. She's proud that she has raised three beautiful boys of her own and helped to raise countless other foundlings that happened across her doorstep.

My mum's always been the ubermum, the mum for a generation of kids. Her "mum action" is legendary, and she will mother anyone, anytime.

I think mostly it has to do with her inbuilt sonar for anyone having a hard time. She seems to have some kind of empathic sixth sense, an astonishing level of awareness for people who need her help.

This has helped her immensely in her chosen profession, that of librarian. Librarians are, by their nature, holders of a sacred trust, and your grammy is a proud exponent of that trust we place in them as a whole. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of books, and agonises over the right book for any person as if it were a matter of life and death. She takes this responsibility very seriously, and woe betide the hapless neanderthal who fails to understand that a library is a place of peace and harmony.

Your grammy takes other things seriously too, punkin, which is a bit of a surprise in someone so lighthearted. She takes food and wine very seriously, two disciplines that she spent a long time fostering in her kids, which only started to pay off once we were well into our 20s. I'm not saying that I entirely forgive her the interminable eggplant casserole, or the 74th iteration of "stir fried scheisse", but I'm eternally grateful for Saturday lunch.

Your grammy and Grandad used to, when your uncles and I were much younger, arise early on Saturday mornings and make a pilgramage to the Queen Victoria Market to procure foodstuffs for the week ahead. On their return, the table would be loaded up with exotic sustenance from far and wide, and we would sit down to a feast of cheeses, meats, breads and salads. Requests were taken, but sometimes our descriptions left something to be desired, and they searched for months for "soft salami" before we all figured out that I meant liverwurst.

I guess what I'm trying to say here, punkin, is that I love my mum.

That your grammy loves you.

That it's her birthday, and this is her card. Handmade, after a fashion.

Love you mum.

Love you too, monkey.

Of course, your grammy's not the only person who gets to have a birthday in October, or even the only grandparent of yours. Your Grandad Jon celebrated his birthday just the other day. He tells me that he's only 43, but I'm not sure that I beleive him. Certainly I distinctly remember getting sorted to gift him a ride in a Ferrari for his 50th birthday, which is an episode that occured in the past, so let's take that with a grain of salt.

It could be time, however, for my special birthday gift to your Grandad, which is to lay to rest the rumor I so viciously circulated. Your Grandad did NOT play bass in Elton John's band in the seventies.

He played keyboards.


Love you punkin, and all of your many grandparents.

Happy birthday Mum and Jon.

1 comment:

rowdygrammy said...

My Darling Abraham,

I have been absent from the blog for a little while, but you have not been absent from my thoughts.

As your Dad says, I have been fortunate in my life to have good friends.

Not to want to go on about this pumpkin, but having friends is important, and friendship is something that you have to work at a bit. Being a good friend means sometimes biting your tongue, and knowing when to say 'I know this is upsetting, but I think I should tell you...’ Being a good friend means sometimes NOT doing what you want to do, but going with the flow. It means being ready to leap in with offers of help (moving day being one of the times this is most welcomed), phoning just to say hello, asking 'how are you' and really wanting to know. Sometimes being a good friend means spending most of the day shopping and ending up with nothing.

Your Dad has mentioned two of my very good friends in the blog lately. Lola, who gave you the lovely walnut tree, is one of my friends here in Maine. Lola is a wonderful cook, and has a great wine cellar. She is very generous with sharing both of these. On Monday night, Grandad and I went to Lola's and she made a birthday dinner for me (refer above to what a friend does). She also made a truly lovely raspberry birthday cake. A good time was had by all. One of the other things that my friend Lola has done for me is being my exercise buddy. Your Grammy has been lifting weights for almost two years now, and is all the better for it. I only do it because of Lola's support and encouragement, and I think she would say the same. When I am sweating and groaning, I think of you and how important it is that I keep fit, so I can keep up with you. I hope that as you get older we can spend time together, walking, running and bike riding. I am working on it Bram - I'm not going to be Grammy who can't keep up.

My other dear friend your Dad has mentioned is Rae. I am having a very sad time since our beautiful friend died. Hopefully this is not something you will have to come to grips with for a long long time, but it is a fact that part of life is death. Sometimes for no very good reason that any of us can see someone we love very much gets very very sick and dies. There are many ways that people deal with this. Your Grammy is not a believer in the afterlife, so I have been trying to take comfort in being grateful for thirty years of close friendship, and thinking that Rae made a large contribution to the world, as a parent, partner, friend and teacher. (and sister, and daughter and aunt). Rae was a person who accepted everybody, people talked to her, and even when she was sick herself she was giving comfort to other people.

I think of a poem I read by Joyce Grenfell which goes in part -

"Cry if you like
Parting is hell,
But life goes on,
So sing as well"

I'm having a hard time with the singing at the moment. I am getting out to walk or work in the garden every day, it's autumn here and the weather in the last week has been beautiful. I am also working, which is a great healer. I am thinking of you and your parents and all of the good things I have in my life. I am also thinking of Annie's words to Rae 'go as you have lived, in joy and love', and keeping them in my heart.

But I am sad - Rae was my very good friend and I will miss her every day of my life.

I love you Abraham William, and your parents and uncles and all of the far flung rellies. Be good this week - moving is hell.

PS I'm sorry I don't have anything to compete with playing keyboards in Elton John's band. I WAS chosen to be one of the attractive girls cheering Gough on when he made his 'It's time' speech at the St. Kilda town hall in 1972. But that's not really in the same league is is? Sigh.

Happy birthday Jon. If we were in the same country we could have a good combined birthday party.