Friday, January 30, 2009

What is it about birthdays?

What is it about birthdays that makes you stop and reflect on life? Do you do that? I don't think I used to, or if I did it wasn't for long. I guess when you are younger you are busier, without the luxury of time for such navel gazing. My birthday was on Tuesday but my family and I celebrated over the long weekend, so the reflective mood has been stretched a bit this year.

As a child growing up in Australia it came as a bit of a shock to me when I learnt that the long weekend was actually for Australia Day on 26th Jan, not my birthday on 27th. Here in NZ I live in the right part of the country as the Monday closest to 29th January is Auckland Anniversary Day. It is observed throughout the historic Auckland Province (the northern half of the North Island) and is now generally called the Auckland and Northland Anniversary Day. On 29 January, 1840 William Hobson arrived in the Bay of Islands. Late January must have been a good time for explorers!

The weather is usually good around this time of year and this year was no exception. Oldest son Danny and his family finished their short holiday at Langs Beach on the Sunday and joined the rest of us at Mangawhai where Leone and her two kids were holidaying. Leone's husband, Lez, hadn't been able to join them as he was working during the week and doing the handyman thing, helping his cousin, Goldy, tile a new bathroom at the weekend. Lez and Goldy had done a "I'll help you with yours if you help me with mine" deal when Leone and Lez were renovating.

After all the grandkids had their fill of the beach, youngest daughter Justine was roped into (she doesn't take much roping) helping Jami, Krystal and Georgia prepare a birthday concert for me. Shayde was around but not showing a lot of interest. But when it came time for them to perform she joined in the fun. "The audience" spread themselves on beach towels on the grass under a lovely shady apple tree and the girls danced and sang a song I've never heard before but then I am a bit out of touch with the musical interests of 10 year olds. I think it might have been something from High School Musical. There was something about falling and in a carefully choreographed move Georgia fell backwards into Jami's arms (and someone taught her how to point her toes!). Towards the end of the song the words they were singing inspired Georgia to run forward and pull Michael out of the audience and on to the "stage". And at the end of it the words, "you're one in a million" with the dancers cum singers pointing towards me. Ah, bless 'em.

Cricket had been played on Saturday with a tennis racket for a bat and a large pink squishy ball. By Sunday, however, the players had a tennis ball and a tiny, kid's game sized, cricket bat. After the concert and as the day was cooling down a little, a game of touch rugby eventuated.

I'd been up for cricket but am happy to accept my footy playing days are over. What's more being a spectator is lots of fun. The highlight of the game, for me, was half time when Danny attempted to teach his team of Krystal and Jami a "run around" move and the "scissors", while Michael drew diagrams in a sandy spot, explaining his tactics to his team of Shayde and Georgia.

An early dinner, Danny and family depart for the farm; Justine and Bill pack up the tent and head back to Auckland; Leone, Michael, Jami and I have a quiet night. (I had planned to also return home that night but Leone had presented me with a bottle of merlot. Enough said!)

The next morning I caught up with old friends who live at Mangawhai and we chuckled over a shared memory of the days I kept company with Allan, a lovely man who used to also live there. Maybe I will write about that tomorrow.

So the birthday for this year is done and dusted and now I only have to shake off this reflective mood and all will be back to normal. Well, normal for me.

1 comment:

  1. You said you were reflecting, but not what you were thinking! Was the reflection a good one?


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