From oysters to pedicures: Adventures of an Octogenarian Barbie!

Octogenarian Barbie proves that age is just a number as she embarks on delightful new experiences.

Last weekend my mother tried something new: an oyster. “Would you believe,” she said afterwards, “somehow I got to the age of 81 without ever eating an oyster?”

I’m not sure she’ll be repeating the experience, but she’s chuffed nonetheless.

On Thursday she did something else new, albeit for the second time, because after years of naysaying, it turned out she rather enjoys a pedicure.

Her first pedicure was in March for her grandson’s wedding, and she chose a demure beige polish so as not to draw attention to her feet, which she has never felt were worthy of admiration.

This time she emerged from the salon with her nails painted bright pink, like Octogenarian Barbie. She says she may make it a regular thing.

Back when she was in her mid70s we went to Venice together.

“I’m not going on a gondolier,” she declared. I’m sure the gondolier was very relieved.

However, after a lot of bullying and age-shaming, my mum did get on that gondola. She adored it. She rather fancied the gondolier too…

And then we made her go on the traghetto, the standing-room-only ferry-style gondola favoured by locals, which is rowed straight across the busy Grand Canal while passengers balance precariously.

I won’t say she loved it, but she was delighted with herself. It remains one of her favourite Venice stories.

Wistfully I recall taking my folks to Universal Studios Hollywood back in 2014.

My old dad went on all the rollercoasters, solemnly handing his walking stick to my waiting mother once he’d settled himself on the ride.

With Dad now gone, in November my mother made a slightly bawdy speech at my wedding. I’m not sure the double entendre was intentional, but she rolled with it and everyone thought she was marvellous.

She is. But I can see she’s getting frailer. So I’m trying to get her to take up weight training, or yoga, or something else to make her stronger.

It’s never too late, right?

Because I really wouldn’t mind if my mum stuck around quite a lot longer.

There are adventures to be had, big and small – she still hasn’t been on a rollercoaster – and I don’t want to do it without her.

READ: Make way for the Mother of the Groom, I’m not shutting my gob

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