This birthday I really am feeling my age | Séamas O’Reilly

I love all the attention I get on my birthday, but my bad back reminds me of the creeping years

It was my birthday last week and I was pampered. By some distance the best thing was the lie-in, that beautifully dark, warm oblivion of childlessness that crept all the way to 8.25 before I awoke, fresh and rested, and journeyed downstairs as if a cherub borne by bluebirds, albeit a cherub with severe back pain. There I discovered a lovely shirt and some pretty running shoes, and cards from my wife, son and one sent from home by my dad.

I’m 37 now, but my dad’s birthday cards have been the same since I was three. They’re always of the ‘For My Son, On His Birthday’ genre; a curiously muted watercolour of a child’s bedroom, freshly made bed, generic football posters on the walls, perhaps a cricket bat resting by the door. They always seem a little too maudlin and melancholy to be congratulatory, as if it’s my seventh birthday, but also I’ve died in the First World War and he misses me.

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