Interesting birthday this year. Not only did I get to spend it with my parents, daughters and son-in-law; but my ex and his parents and sister were there. This was just a coincidence as we were all at my daughter's to celebrate her receiving her Master's degree.
While I was opening my gifts, someone asked how old I was (I think it was my younger daughter who will be finding coal in her Christmas stocking this year). Her dad leaned over to his sister, Kris, to urge her to resond to the question with "You're older than dirt."
Side note about Kris. About 15 years ago, she suffered a brain injury and now needs constant care. It is my firm belief that inside her head, she's the same woman and fully knows everything going on around her. There's just a short circuit that prevents her from communicating, among other activities.
Anyway, after my ex urged her to say "Older than dirt", she automatically parroted "Older than dirt" in her painstakingly slow manner.
I quipped, "Remember, you'ren older than I, so you are even older than old dirt." I glanced over and caught her expression of mock outrage. There was a mischievous glint in her eyes, and I saw her working her mouth. She had a comeback for that, but she couldn't form it.
Later, I reflected back when my ex and I were still married and before Kris' accident. When there would be a family gathering at my in-law's, my mother-in-law, Kris and I had an informal tradition on the last night. After the kids and husbands had all gone to bed, we'd meet in the kitchen and raid the refrigerator. Then while we'd finish up the home-made ravioli, roast beef, various cookies and cakes, we'd perform a post-mortem on the visit. There would be a lot of joking around and we'd eventually wake up someone with our laughing.
At one point this past weekend, I asked Kris if she remembered those times. Generally, if you ask her a question, she responds, "I don't know", until you press her and she'll eventually give you the correct answer. But this time, she turned to me and nodded her head "yes", that mischevious look in her eyes again. She wanted to tell me something, but couldn't get it out.
I miss her.