|J Vineyards, Sonoma|
It may interest you to know that until eight years ago my husband was not fully appraised of the fact that I was - and still am - five years older than him. If we hadn't met up with an immigration lawyer in London, Kevin would have remained blissfully unaware of this fact. At that stage we had three children.
|Notting Hill, London|
The truth was I have always been older than everyone around me since I was an AFS exchange student in the US. Because of opposite seasons I had nearly finished my final year at Whakatane High School in New Zealand, before I started senior year at New Canaan High School where I was just that bit older. At Uni in New Zealand, I was a year older than everyone again.
|New Canaan, CT|
That meant I arrived in London much later. It meant I was a 30-year-old chalet "girl" in Champery, Switzerland (an optional, but I feel, vital part of "OE") where most everyone else was 19 years old. They affectionately called me "Grandma." I met Kevin when I was nearly 33 and we had baby Harley when I was 35.
It wasn't that I was deliberately secretive or even "economical with the truth" or even that Kevin was excessively obtuse - more that I was evasive. He never saw my passport clearly though we flew all over the world in our first three years together, including to Peru when I was four months pregnant with Harley. Somehow our exact ages never came up.
After three kids we decided to move from London to the US and when we met with an immigration lawyer she advised us that we had to get married in order to live in the US. Then she exclaimed rapturously - looking at my birth certificate - "Hey, Jody! Celebrations are in order!!!Happy Birthday for this Sunday - THE BIG 40!"
"Oh no" said Kevin, "She's not 40, she's more like...35 or is it 36???"
Our lawyer realised what she had done: "I'm. So. Sorry!!!! " she mouthed to me, her eyes terrified.
The game was up. Kevin looked at my birth certificate, his jaw dropping. Not exactly the received euphoria presented by the AshtonKutcher-DemiMoore PR machine. "Horrified" would have more accurately described his face.
We were now free to spend the rest of our lives - me with five years less than first thought - in utterly honest abandonment.
Now I will talk about my age to anyone who cares to listen. I'm already planning my 50th and looking forward to it. It's not that I'm wiser - am still a confirmed "nonga" (Kiwi-kid word for idiot). I'm not more comfortable "in my own skin" when that skin involves present and imminent slippage including elephant knees, crow feet, bingo wings and turkey wattle. There's no philosophy I've encountered that's suddenly makes all those wobblier bits a subject for joy.
And though Cy will point out scary neck stuff, generally the kids have been coached by Kevin to be gentle: Cy put on his tuxedo and wrote on my "birdar set" (birthday seat): "Mom you get printy avrer secint" (Mum, you get prettier every second). Tallulah wrote me a song:
"Paying the taxes in the hot warm sun,
Looking forward to having some fun.
Eyes as blue as sea, I know she's my mum when she hangs out with me"
|Note From Jackson|
Can you reveal something you've kept from your partner (within reason)?