During this particularly busy half term holiday, the boys and I have barely stopped. Part accident, part design, I have found it necessary to fill every waking moment being with my two offspring. As occurs with alarming frequency these days, I found myself awakened by a brutal slapping across the face by the pale and disinterested ghost of my own mortality.
As my two boys' buddies arrived to stay earlier this week, I caught my breath as three young men cheered a greeting and fell through my front door. In an instant I adopted the role of embarrassing auntie, reminiscing at length about the speed at which time has passed, how tall the boys had grown and how growling bass lines had replaced the choirboy voices of times past. Instead of measuring my own increases in height alongside theirs as tradition dictates, the opposite is now being tracked on my door frame as my spine depletes and treasured extra millimetres are gone for ever, while the once tiny children, nephews, nieces and 'little' friends now tower above me, fuelled in part by the entire contents of my fridge and pantry. I am, it would seem, no longer part of the giddy race through the firsts of teens, twenties or even thirties. A parallel party is in progress for my children and their friends and I am not invited. The abyss is merely widening and deepening. I will never get back.
No one told me I would cycle uphill to 40 then freewheel downhill evermore - no more opportunity to grow in to my adult self, only shrinking away from that which I hoped I would one day become. Some choices are irreversible and the damage is done. Yet the alternative is unthinkable and I will enjoy every minute for those of my friends who never got the chance to get this far. The rest of my life is a book unwritten and so I must pick up my pen and start plotting again!
Since my thirty fifth birthday, I have been hiding from what effectively is to become my middle age. Next month, my fortieth birthday will be celebrated as only I know how - with pink champagne, chocolate, my fabulous girlfriends and a great deal of laughter. As much of this year has been severely lacking in points one and four, my dearest friends have ordered a get together involving fluffy white robes, various pampering treatments and a few glasses of bubbly. With shiny toes of many colours, we will share a few bottles of bubbly, eat chocolates, dance, laugh, discuss our next steps, distance ourselves from our past mishaps and disasters, eat more chocolates, share our innermost thoughts and dreams during a few more bottles of bubbly, then return home to continue on with the precarious route through the rest of our lives.
While desparately braking at every turn, scraping my new patent pumps in a bid to slow down the ride, I will continue to live every minute to the full.
Life is short and so am I.
Today's lesson is merely to keep on and keep smiling.
What else is there?