Day 60: My grandmother

Something happened today that I really just wanted to share with all of you. Not just family but the world. My grandmother found out her age today. Yep you read right. My grandmother, a woman was has had children who have had children (some of whom have even had children) found out her age… today. My gran was born in May 1923.

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In that time babies in her part of Ghana (then the Gold Coast) were only registered via the baptism register. Basically babies would be baptised within a certain time period after being born and on their baptism certificate they would include the child’s birthday. This system works, if your parents are Christians and my gran’s cousin’s parents were, so she was baptised and recorded, but my gran’s parents weren’t so my gran wasn’t recorded. Luckily, we now know that my gran was born around that baptism date, within a month of her cousin’s birth in April 1923. My gran reached 90 this year and we didn’t even know.

Take a second to think about how big that is in someone’s life. I know for me it’s massive. My gran turned 90 this year and I didn’t even get her a card. A part of that hurts. It’s not my fault it’s my great-grandparents’ fault but still somehow I feel like I’ve deprived her of a well-deserved celebration. My gran still jumps on a bus to the market, she can carry kilos of anything on her head. She is not ‘old’ in the usual sense of the word. She’s more sprightly than a 70-year-old and given that she had to give me support when we last went to the market, I’d say she’s more sprightly than a 22-year-old. She’s got perfect vision, memory like an elephant (which I promise you is not always a good thing). Like an old lady, she does ramble on sometimes, but you know what when you reach 90 you’ve earned the right to bore people with your stories. She’s 90. She didn’t know it this morning but tonight she goes to sleep with the widest grin on her face. And with that, being here for all of it, smiling politely as she shows me off to all her friends at church, whilst she fusses over what I’ll eat and how much of it and reminisces on the first time we met in 1999 when even then I wouldn’t eat and lived by the mantra “me nnim” (I don’t know), I go to bed with a frickin massive grin on my face too.

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