My mother turned 90 on September 3.
It's a bit of historic date actually. On her 11th birthday, the girls at Mum's party stopped playing pin the tale on the donkey to gather around the radio and hear that war had been declared. Well the war is over, thank goodness and lives have gone on.
For Mum, life has been charmed and charming. She married Dad (who celebrates his 95th birthday in January), moved to Queensland and had three children - the middle of whom is close to perfect. (I always remind Mum that I am her favourite child at any given opportunity and most particularly when my brother and sister are within earshot).
My mother is nothing if not fair. What she does for one, she does for the other. There may be some time between the acts, but we all know they will ultimately occur. My mother has lots of principles, one of which is if you want to have a friend, you have to be one.
My mother was the only child of a big fish in a small town. The people in town either worked with or for her father or she was related to them. Just to make sure she knew absolutely everyone, she left school and worked as a receptionist in the town hotel. That meant she knew the comings and goings of the people coming into town as well as those who lived there.
It would have been a big thing to pack up old vintage Esmeralda and head north. Mum said the roof of the old car flew off on the Story Bridge and that was that. They checked into the People's Palace and cast about for some work.
Leaving our relatives in Victoria meant that we called all Mum's friends aunt or uncle and we shared Christmas and other special days with other Yallourn expats.
That is what Mum mourns the most as she hit the three score and thirty. Her best and dearest friends have moved north again, this time to a higher place, and she wishes she had them sitting with her at her little high tea.
Turning 90 is a time to count your blessings. It is a time to be glad of those who joined her for tea. It is a time to remember those who weren’t there. It is a time to be grateful for your health, your family, your longevity -- and your favourite child.