Jane Gor­don

Age un­known Mother, grand­mother and 24/7 child­min­der

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MUM AND ME -

Whether it is the Fe­bru­ary blues or some kind of post-birth­day de­pres­sion I am not sure. But I have found my­self pon­der­ing the hor­rific in­evitabil­ity of old age.

It started with the re­al­i­sa­tion that dog­walk­ing in the cold and wet, in un­suit­able footwear, had given me painful chilblains. Google con­firmed my fears by in­form­ing me that the con­di­tion is most com­monly suf­fered by small chil­dren and the el­derly. Worse, the rec­om­mended treat­ment has forced my feet into sen­si­ble footwear from a com­pany of­fer­ing ‘aids to in­de­pen­dent liv­ing’ for the afore­said el­derly.

Never in my life did I imag­ine my shoe col­lec­tion would in­clude fleecy slip­pers or stout ‘ex­tra-roomy, sup­port­ive boots with Vel­cro fas­ten­ing’. Nor, for that mat­ter, did I ever dream that my lin­gerie drawer would con­tain bed­socks, 100-de­nier sup­port tights and Da­mart ther­mal knick­ers.

Per­haps this re­ally quite mi­nor in­di­ca­tion of my phys­i­cal de­cline (I still have my own knees and hips) wouldn’t have up­set me so much if Valen­tine’s Day hadn’t been so dis­ap­point­ing. Along with a bill and a re­minder that my TV li­cence is over­due, I re­ceived a hand­writ­ten en­ve­lope that – surely! – would con­tain a mes­sage from an ad­mirer.

In­side was a heart-shaped card that Edie made, in­scribed with ‘Happy Valen­tine’s Day Gran’. A bit­ter­sweet re­minder – kindly posted to me by my daugh­ter – that I’ve reached the end of my ro­man­tic life.

Time was when I used to go to all sorts of lengths – get­ting a friend to write the en­ve­lope and post it miles from the fam­ily home – to en­sure that a teenage Bry­ony re­ceived a Valen­tine’s card that looked as if it had come from a mys­te­ri­ous stranger.

I am not sure it ever fooled her and now think that maybe, when she opened those en­velopes, her heart didn’t so much soar as sink. Mak­ing her ques­tion, as I am now, whether she would ever re­ceive the real thing: a Valen­tine’s card sent by a boy, rather than a well-mean­ing fam­ily mem­ber.

I never dreamt my lin­gerie drawer would con­tain sup­port tights

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