I love birthdays and today we have two of them in the family. Mine, and my daughter's. She is the most wonderful birthday present I ever received! I did have to work rather hard the day she was born... but all the labour was worth it, and we are still very close - she just lives five minutes away by car.
This snapshot is from a clan gathering in the 1980s:
Sharing a birthday with an immediate member of the family is a little tricky; after all you each want to get your money's worth out of all the good will and feasting, so most years we have solved the double-booking by having two separate birthday parties - one in the middle of the day and the other in the evening.
We've already had a pleasant celebration brunch at her place today, and tonight I'm being taken out to Plato, my favourite Dunedin restaurant, for a slap-up meal.
The floral theme for the mother/daughter August birthday, is daffodils. We were both born in Auckland, which has a far more temperate climate than Dunedin's one, and in mid-August in the North, the spring flowers are well underway in the gardens.
Today in Dunedin it's icy cold and raining, with snow on the hills and more in the forecast. In the garden there are a few brave daffodils just peeking out through closed green blinds to see what the day is like, but we have to go to a florist to get a bunch of full-blown daffodil-smelling daffodils.
The sign of coming spring that is strong and beautiful today in Dunedin, is the early plum bossom that is gracing the whole city. Especially beautiful is the row of trees on either side of Wycolla Avenue, in St Clair.
I still have a voicemail recording from last year, of my mother and my father wishing me a happy birthday. We did all spend time together later that day, but it was always their habit to ring me first thing on my birthday morning, even if they were going to see me later on. I haven't worked up the courage yet to listen to their cheery greetings, because in the interim they have both died. My first birthday as an orphan. I'm the matriarch now.