Today is my 37th birthday. Yes, I know, I do sound a lot younger. Thank you. Less of the barracking down the back, please. I am beginning to feel my age. Yeah, I know 40 is the new 30 (or as a friend of mine said on hearing that another friend’s 80 year old father was to remarry, 80 is the new 70), but approaching 40 has come as a bit of a surprise to me. I can see my face thinning out, getting that slightly gaunt and hollow look that trying to meet the incessant demands of a toddler on zero sleep will give you, particularly, if youÂ’re an older mother and you have baby twins as well. Why oh why didn’Â’t I have my children at 22 when I had the energy for it?
I will be 20 years out of school this summer. My oldest friend attended her 20th school reunion recently, much against her better judgement. She tells me that it was dreadful, Â“very CorkÂ”. Â“But wasnÂ’’t it fascinating to find out what everyone was doing?Â” Â“WellÂ” she conceded Â“it might have been, but all anyone talked about was husbands and childrenÂ”. The oldest friend has a glittering career as a diplomat (this is obviously more impressive in Cork than in Brussels, where there are more diplomats than natives) so I asked whether her former school friends had expressed suitable awe. After various modest disclaimers she said Â“that no, it hadn’t come up – though they did express amazement that she wasn’Â’t married with children. I would be the first to say that having children is very challenging and rewarding etc. but, you know, having a glittering career is very challenging and rewarding too (with the added bonus that it makes for more interesting conversation Â–- toilet training doesnÂ’’t regularly feature). One of her former school mates summed it up by saying to her condescendingly Â“ oh well, having children is very hard; itÂ’s not for everyoneÂ”.
So, clearly, this all made me feel better about my achievements: one husband, three children, one job. I’Â’m having it all; my life at 37 is perfect. However, at the moment I donÂ’’t feel like I’Â’m having it all; this lengthy maternity leave has
largely turned me into a housewife and I’Â’m not at all sure how I feel about that. I was ludicrously pleased when I was able to order a dustbuster and a blender based on my supermarket points. I spent days admiring our new fridge.
The other day I said to Mr. Waffle, “Â“Great news, I have solved a mysteryÂ”.” I think he felt that I had oversold my discovery when I explained that it was how our cleaning lady manages to wipe down the kitchen counters without leaving a water swipe mark (if you want to know Â– itÂ’s by using window cleaning spray, I hope it wonÂ’t kill us all, but they are delightfully sparkly). The final blow came when I was watching an old episode of Â“FriendsÂ” on the telly in which MonicaÂ’’s cleaner said to her, “Â“Mrs. Bing, this tile cleaner is terrificÂ” and Monica said Â“Really? I made it myself itÂ’s one part amonia, one part lemon juice and a secret ingredient.”Â” The cleaner asked, “Â“What’Â’s the secret ingredient?”Â” I leant forward listening closely, only to have Monica dash my hopes: Â“”What you think IÂ’’m going to tell you my secret ingredient?Â”” Yup, I guess I’Â’m a housewife now, alright.
A housewife and out of touch with Â“the young peopleÂ” as I understand they are known. Let me give you an example. A friend of mine who is a competition lawyer said of a small town in England, “Â“I went to a rave there.Â””
Me: What a rave, a rave??
Her: No, a raid, you know, where we turn up at a company’Â’s office and go through their stuff looking for incriminating papers.
Me: Oh right. Do you go to raves?
Mr Waffle: I donÂ’’t think that they have raves any more.
Him: No, I haven’Â’t read about them in the paper in ages.
Roll on 40. And has anyone seen my glasses?
on 10 March 2006 at 10:34
Oops! Hippo birdies!
on 10 March 2006 at 10:46
bon anniversaire waffleroo
on 10 March 2006 at 14:14
Hap’birty, ‘waf… you Oldie you 🙂
on 10 March 2006 at 14:17
You got the Doc to come out of hiding!!
on 10 March 2006 at 14:35
Happy Birthday! You don’t look a day over 28. You know, I assume.
on 10 March 2006 at 14:51
Happy Birfday. I love the idea that the career diplomat might be taking the easy route out.
on 10 March 2006 at 15:17
happy happy birthday! you ought to go enjoy yourself and take in a rave. or a raid. either sounds preferable to getting the little men to sleep.
on 10 March 2006 at 16:24
Or as I once heard someone say, why didn’t you have children when your parents were young enough to take care of them?
on 10 March 2006 at 19:49
Happy birthday. And gaunt and hollow is in, don’t you know- just look at Terri Hatcher xxx
on 10 March 2006 at 20:32
Many happy returns Ms Waffle. You’re not the only person born in 1969 wondering how it is that 40 seems to be galloping up so fast.
on 11 March 2006 at 00:16
I think it’s only natural to feel ten year younger than you actually are and surprise yourself when you realise you aren’t. I do it constantly. My last rave was 1990 by golly.
on 11 March 2006 at 12:53
>Happy Birthday … I’m younger (by a couple of weeks but still, these things are important) but even so managed to humiliate myself at work by asking my staff what ‘crazy frog’ was. Apparently it’s some sort of popular beat combo for telephones.
on 11 March 2006 at 13:30
Happy happy Birthday! To celebrate, I will be throwing a huge rave in my basement. We will be serving energy drinks, and will only allow admittance to those carrying a hard boiled egg.
on 12 March 2006 at 00:17
Happy birthday Young Waffle.
on 12 March 2006 at 21:10
Oooh, thank you all for kind birthday wishes and sweetie bonanza. You’re all younger than me, aren’t you? And tell me, do you really need hard boiled eggs to get into raves?
on 13 March 2006 at 11:13
Happy birthday Waffly. Ibet the secret ingredient is bicarb of soda.
on 14 March 2006 at 09:06
Thank you, thank you Norah. Should I try it or would that just be too sad…back at work this time 3 weeks. Goodness gracious me.
on 14 March 2006 at 22:05
happy belated birthday Ms Waffle – let me tell you, as someone on the down-hill slide into the decade that is being hailed as the new 40’s that the view isn’t too bad at all. (although it’s a fairly gin-fuelled view!)
on 21 March 2006 at 20:58
Ooh gin fuelled, how lovely…