Last night I found an old hard drive, plugged it in, started going through it. Turns out it was where Mr PC had dumped a load of old pics. I loved a particular set of dark and grainy snaps, taken at the very start of 2010. I recognised the small London Christmas tree as being the very last one Mum had put up; the big glossy chocolate cake I had made for 4 Jan that year, the candles blown out as Mum turned 71, with Jonah waiting patiently for the first cut. This was her last birthday on this mortal coil, as it turned out. Today she would have been 78.
She was brave about her January birthday. It’s great, she’d say, just when everyone’s so sad about Christmas being over, I get a birthday! So instead of posting sad pictures about her every year, I try to continue the fun theme by celebrating her birthday with a shopping trip to a pretty dress shop, the rationale being that if I can’t buy her something nice, I might as well spoil myself (she’d have wanted it, I tell myself)*. Besides, it’s always the sales – another point she’d have been proud of.
Today, though, the last day of the Christmas school hols, I left work and took a sickly almost-12-year-old to lunch, who whined as we trailed from dim sum cafe to post office about his achey bones and hot head. So instead of buying anything fancy we came home and here we are now, frock-less but slightly better off in the wallet department and enjoying a cup of tea and the remains of a friend’s gorgeous Christmas spice cake, one of us going through those old pics again and the other one snoozing and fondling his new KindleFire.
Happy birthday Ma. Your ‘present’ will just have to be late, but I think you’d be OK with that too.
*I do the same thing for my birthday in June. She’d definitely have wanted that too