Help the Aged
I must tell you about Lily. She is a lady on the bed opposite my mum who is currently in a cottage hospital for recuperation. I went in the other day and she was kindly exclaiming that I didn’t look old enough to have 3 kids and that ‘I’ve kept my figure’. So you can see why I instantly liked her. She beckoned me over…’How old do you reckon I am, then?’ she said. I looked at her and wanting to be kind I said ‘Late 60s?’ (meaning mid 70s).
92!!! Flippin’ heck! The shock on my face said it all and she giggled and waved a pot at me. ’Wrinkle cream! Used it all my life!’ ’Well Lily, ‘said I ‘I am getting myself some of that!’ (actually I already have some…alas). She then proceeded to rustle in her bag and produce some haribo which she insisted I give to my children who were with me. Son was in fine humour and he went over to thank her which made me proud.
Then, when I went in yesterday I was feeling a bit low. Littlest had me up at 5am and I was basically knackered and allowing myself a blue moment. The nurse asked me if I was alright and I was touched that she had noticed my weariness. The scragged up hair and HUGE bags under my eyes probably gave it away! Then after chatting to mum I got up to leave and Lily called me over to take some marshmallows over to the lady in the corner because she didn’t have any munchies. The she asked me to pick up a bag for her. ’It’s got my curlers in it. I am seeing the doctor tomorrow, I can’t go without my hair done’. Bless her, her spirit and still keeping herself youthful and elegant at the age of 92 really made me go a bit fuzzy and want to give her a hug. I didn’t, because I don’t think you’re supposed to and she is so slight I thought I might break her. But Lily is all I hope to be at 92. Cheerful, optimistic and still promoting a sense of humour, something many old people have drained out of them through illness, loneliness and confusion.
One wine-fuelled evening a few weeks ago I decided to sign up to go to Britmums Live. I am there on my ownsome and although feel very chipper about it now, I know I will get through the doors and think ‘Oh, crap. Why am I here?’. I am quite a shy person and although once I get going you can’t shut me up (I even worked as an actress) I am rubbish at chit-chat. My worst scenario is a room full of people I don’t know having to make small talk. I feel like I am 12 again at the school disco and retreat to the loos or just leave altogether – flight definitely overtaking fight and at an alarming rate.
Anyway, I remind myself I am 39 and really should be better at this by now. So I am going and I am really looking forward to it. I was just going to go on the Saturday but laughingly said if I made the finalists of the awards I would go on the Friday too. To my ongoing disbelief I did make it onto a finalist list, so this week I duly booked myself into the local Travel Lodge (£60 for bed and full brekkie and 20mins walk!). Cheap, cheerful and hopefully a guarantee of being clean.
What am I nervous about? Well, it’s not just the small talk, but meeting other bloggers who might actually recognise my blog or tweet with me and shattering the illusion of, well, me. Blogging and tweeting gives you a persona and I know there are a good few who meet up and chat on the phone, but I am not one of them. Britmums Live is fuelling my teenage angst of ‘What if they don’t like me?’. So silly, I am a grown woman and if people don’t like me then so be it, I honestly and rationally don’t really care but I find the blogging world and twitter especially, a bit like being back at school. There are the cool kids who wittily tweet to each other and everybody want to be followed by them, there are the boys, there are the girls, there are the silent tweeters who listen and join in the conversation if only in their heads, there are the new kids, the old kids and the nerdy kids lurking on the periphery. I won’t say which category I think I fall in to but one type of kids twitter doesn’t seem to have is the mean kids – the bullies and the bitches. Everyone seems lovely and in it for the same reasons, going in the same direction. It is Hogwarts online. This I will remember as I fix a big smile and head for the Britmums butterflies…