Saturday 25th June 2022

Zero Birthdays. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 115/2019.

Zero Birthdays. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 115/2019.

I am pretty sure I made this prompt waaaaay before my zero birthday was due.

In fact, I often use a date as in inspiration for my prompts for Life This Week.

So, yes, later this week I will be “this many”


that is seventy….which means…. going into my 8th decade of life. 

I look(ed) like this two weeks before said birthday.

Decked out in my fave colours….which happen to also represent Beyond Five. Off on my morning tea date with my dear husband…who is already 70.

About Zero Birthdays.

I guess, like some (or many) I would prefer not to make too much of a fuss of me on any of my birthdays…BUT….not to forget it either! I have been better at organising and hosting birthday celebrations of the zero kind for my parents. They also did this themselves. Whilst Mum and Dad grew up in the Depression years where birthdays (let alone parties) were quietly noted, Dad especially has enjoyed marking the occasions. Mum not so much but she was the best BIRTHDAY cake maker. From scratch and sometimes even doing designs from the Womens Weekly Birthday Cake book for her grandchildren. In fact, for our daughter’s 10th (zero!) birthday I recall it was the Tennis Racquet cake.

We don’t seem to place much emphasis at all on zero birthdays until our 30th. Is that because we might think we are getting old(er). Interesting.

My 30th.

There are no photos from 40 years ago but i remember what we did. My best friend from teaching and her husband and son had their second child around the same time we had ours..with a similar gap of nearly 7 years so we did a Maccas birthday party. Just a meal at Maccas but it felt right and fun – I don’t think there were party rooms then. In fact, it’s the Maccas where I stop for a coffee and loo break on my way to Westmead!

My 40th.

Nothing to recall. However, I do remember my husband having a lovely cake made by a lady whose son came to him for tutoring and we had a family dinner.

My 50th.

It was at the end of the first year as a principal. We’d also become grandparents for the second time. My ‘wish’ was for my mum to cook a baked lamb dinner for my birthday which she did and our daughter hosted the evening. It was very pleasant and Mum even made me the cake. At that birthday I was given the same present my husband got for his 50th. Personalised number plates for the upcoming Sydney Olympics! 20 years ago next year everyone!! Those plates are still on our cars.

Mum’s 80th.

Mum had some sayings. Like this one: “don’t wait till a funeral to tell  people what you liked about them”…words to that effect anyway. She HAD a point. It may be just our family but I reckon people are very circumspect in tell others of their kindness, memories and how that person has played a part in their life. So, Mum..we listened and for your 80th you got it in spades!

Actually very glad we did as poor Mum was not well for the next two years (no-one really knew exactly what except it could have been partly neurological) and died a few months after her 82nd birthday.

What did we do?

It was family meal at our place and attended by my parents, brother, his wife and grown children. Our children.  along with three grandchildren, were present in late 2004. I did the main entertaining space up with photos and words on pages from Mum’s life – a timeline – which later became a memory book. There were streamers and balloons (der!) as I am a party-kid and of course the grandkids who were around 7, 5 and 3 loved that too. Before the party evening (everyone contributed to catering, and I think we had a cake made) each person who wanted to, wrote a tribute to Mum or what memories they had of her. Before the meal, we all shared those words with Mum and it was wonderful. I recall photos and maybe a mini  movie. Goodness knows where that ended up. Technology has changed in so many ways in 15 years.

My 60th.

Turned out I really was keen to mark this occasion. I turned 60 at the end of the year that was my FINAL one as a teacher (principal era finished 6 years before) and wanted a celebration. My family and friends (all female) were guests at a High Tea at a local Hotel at Bella Vista. The guests were my youngest granddaughter of only a few months (and her Mum!) , my older granddaughters, my daughter, friends from teaching and it was lovely. The following day my husband, kids and partners (and said 3 month old baby) along with my Dad had lunch at a restaurant in Castle Hill and ON the actual day, in the afternoon, the littlest grandkids threw me a little at home party. My cup of appreciation, love and celebration was FULL!

My husband’s 70th.

Definitely not one for celebrating loudly …at all but of course, some recognition for his birthdays have been acceptable especially where grandkids and cake are involved. It was his choice this year to be low-key. There was going to be a family lunch here but he was unwell that weekend, so we caught up much later. On the actual day “we” celebrated with a card – and I am guessing, from his expression some kind and loving (maybe funny too) words.


Dad’s 90th.

At the beginning of 2014, Dad turned 90. He had been a resident (very happily and independently) in a lovely retirement unit complex at Dee Why for almost 3 years. He had been widowed for 7. He was keen to celebrate new friendships (from the place at Dee Why) and be joined by old friends (Golf) as well as us, his family, which was then my brother & his wife, and me, our  respective kids and everyone’s partners. My husband was not well enough to attend so he recorded a message for Dad. There were 7 great grandchildren and four grandchildren present.

Dad thought he had it all organised and under control and he did from a physical sense: room at Dee Why RSL booked and paid for, a special menu, family to decorate the room, photographs organised and a plan for celebration and commemoration of the occasion with speeches and, of course, a powerpoint. Our daughter made all the labels, I did place settings with thank yous and the day progressed well.

Until after everyone had spoken and Dad had seen (and heard) the “this is your life” I made via powerpoint…and he could not speak without breaking down.

It truly overwhelmed him and he even forgot to thank us. He talked about and reflected on that occasion for the next…um..year!

So, that IS it for zero birthdays for now… Dad is 96 in early January 2020 and he is reasonably well. It still feels weird for me to be turning 70 and having my Dad around. I can’t feel OLD while he is still alive, right??


How do you celebrate zero birthdays?

I want to pay tribute to Lydia from here for her words which encouraged me to celebrate my 70th! Thank you. Looking forward to my birthday  as a result: with a small morning tea on Thursday and a family lunch on the actual day, Saturday…and seeing my Dad and brother the following week.


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  1. Wow Denyse that’s a great summary of birthdays! I love that you can’t feel old while your dad is still around and I agree! Happy birthday for later this week I’m sure you will enjoy the celebrations. My birthday is mid-December and I’ll be in England with my daughter and granddaughter so it will feel very different, as well as colder than usual! In my case, I love celebrating any birthday and usually do so with gusto – in the case of turning 50 I celebrated for the whole year 🙂 . I have linked up a post that mentions my birthday and some favourite Christmas photos. Enjoy your big day xx

    • Love that. You celebrated for a year. Good on you. Your birthday sure will be different in fact but for all the wonderful reasons we know. Family love at this time is so very special….even though 2/3 are back in Australia.

      Thank you for your lovely wishes,

      Denyse x

  2. These are lovely stories. It is funny you don’t really celebrate the zero’s until 30 – I guess that 21st tradition sort of puts it out of kilter. My 30th was also my hens night – males and females in attendance and just in a restaurant and karoke. It was fun. My 40th was dinner with 3 besties, and on the actual night, I went and learnt to play mah jong with a friend and 3 of her friends. We’ve been the Mah Jong club for over a decade, so while my husband was horrified I was spending my 40th with strangers and I hadn’t told anyone it was my birthday (tho I did take some good champagne, which is also part of my mah jong club tradition now for every meeting), it was a great way to indulge myself. Getting time for me to learn something new. And the 50th, that was a big hurrah. And FABULOUS!!! Looking forward to celebrating your 70th! And like your mum, I think you use birthdays to thank your village -and vocalise how much they mean to you.

    • Yes it when I did the review of birthdays I realised we tend to do 21 as a biggie. Although 18 is popular…and 16…and 13..ok, and ten!!

      I loved reading about yours. Thanks so much for sharing. And for your special push to get me celebrating 70!!

      Denyse x

  3. I love that your Mum could master the Birthday Cakes from the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake book! No mean feat! I hope you have an amazing 70th Birthday Denyse xx

    Di from Max The Unicorn

    • I guess we took Mum’s cooking cakes for granted because she made wonderful cakes anyway.,..and then we upped the challenge! I remember a racing car track for our son and a tennis raquet for our daughter.

      Mum never ate her cakes..she was much more of a savoury tooth so I am grateful she made cakes for others like me and Dad (sweet tooths!)

      Thanks Di.

      Denyse x

  4. Happy 70 years young!

  5. Happy 70th birthday for later this week, Denyse! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the celebrations with your family.

  6. Happy soon-to-be70 birthday Denyse. I always seem to struggle a bit with Zero birthdays – they seem to mark the end of one era and the beginning of an uncharted new decade. Once the birthday is over and done with then I’m okay again. I hope you have a great time and take lots of pics that you can include in your 80th birthday blog post!

    • Oh I hadn’t thought of it that way…but yes, I will be into my 8th decade on this earth. Wow.

      I am someone who still thinks 1999 was 10 years ago but seeing I have a 20 year old granddaughter born then I need to adjust my maths!!

      Thank you for your kind birthday wishes.

      Denyse x

  7. What happy birthday memories, Denyse! You’ve inspired me to look positively and with anticipation to my next Zero!

    SSG xxx

    • Well I am glad about that because it was dear Lydia who made me think more about celebrating instead of hiding away and letting it slide past. I think too, I am so grateful to be recovering so well from the cancer of over 2.5 years ago I have more to celebrate in gratitude.

      Looking forward to seeing yours as time goes by…and in just under 2 years our DD will be half a century!!

      Denyse x

  8. I truly believe that getting older is a privilege denied to many and think that any age is a birthday to be celebrated, whether it be mine or someone else’s! That said, I do love a milestone or zero birthday. I think my 40th will be hard to beat – it was a few months after my first cancer diagnosis, (I thought) I was cancer free and me and a bus load of friends went on a wine tour of the Hunter Valley. When we got home that evening, we kicked on to the local rugby club with even more friends, it was such a happy day! I hope your 70th is spent with the people you love the most and doing the things you love the most! You certainly have a lot to celebrate 🙂

    • That is a good attitude to adopt Sammie.

      Thank you for sharing your 40th celebration….a way to get back into life as you knew it after cancer #1…but of course, there ‘was’ a post-script.

      You do teach me a lot about living for and in the now.

      I appreciate your kind wishes for .my 70th

      Denyse x

  9. Happy Birthday, Denyse! You are looking good – full of fun and life. We retired educators know how to have a good time! 🙂

    For my last zero birthday, I wanted to run with my whole family. My hubby organized it so that not only did my family (including my grandchildren) come out for a fun run, but many of my running friends as well. There was birthday cake and coffee after the run and we all had a great time. My birthday is in January, so it was very cold for the run, but that did not dampen our spirits at all. Thanks for “jogging” my memory!

    • What a fantastic way to celebrate YOU and your birthday. Just loved reading this about you and yours.

      Thanks so much for the good wishes.

      January birthdays in Australia are usually very hot. We have 3 family members whose birthdays are then…and it’s heat and storms I remember well!

      Denyse x

  10. Happy Birthday!! I like what your mom said, “Don’t wait till a funeral to tell people what you liked about them.” Thanks so much for hosting!

    • Thanks so much Dee. Your comment about Mum is spot on. She might not have spoken up much in her life – her husband, my Dad is a very dominating personality but on this she sure had her say and we were pleased to honour that wish.


      Denyse x

  11. These are great birthday memories Denyce. You remember so much detail. During my lifetime, I’ve never been one for celebrating my birthday. But when turning I felt the need to mark it in some way. I decided to walk The Camino decSantiago as celebration of my health and fitness at age 60.

    • Thanks Jennifer. Yes I have a good memory for lots of things. Just hope it continues….
      I am glad you marked your special birthday in a significant way for you.

      That’s an amazing feat.

      Denyse x

  12. So much to celebrate there Denyse.

    My birthday is between Christmas and New Year so it’s always hard. I prefer to do stuff ON my actual birthday or it seems pointless in some ways, but people are usually away / have family in town or other commitments.

    I have done something for my 30th, 40th and 50th birthdays however. I made more of a thing of the latter two so remember them more.

    • I remember your 50th and sent you a card. Nothing worse than being ‘forgotten’ in that week that is weird between Christmas and New Year.

      I admit, it took me some time to warm to my 70th more because of background stuff that was happening and so, once I made up my mind about what I would like…and my husband did his part, it means I am celebrating 70 tomorrow with the people who mean the most to me.

      Thanks for your lovely words.

      Denyse x