Age unknown Mother, grandmother and 24/7 childminder
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