I remember being surprised - often - at the age of my parents or how long they'd been married. My dad did the same job from the time we moved to that town until he retired. Every morning at 6.30 am he filled a flask with sweet black tea, made plum jam sandwiches and left for work by 7.00 am. Every morning before he left for work he'd come in and wake me and my sisters and tell us to get ready for school. He'd leave bowls for cereal on the kitchen table and sandwiches in smelly tupperware containers sitting beside them. Every afternoon at 4.05 pm he'd come home.
That sameness was comfortable and reassuring but I think it allowed me to ignore the passing of time. It was a shock when he retired and I realised he was 60. I hadn't expected that, even though I'd grown up and married and had a child, he would be getting older too.
I still have the small pine table we had in the kitchen as I was growing up. I look at that table and can almost see me and my sisters sitting underneath it. One would grab the jar of peanut paste, another the jar of vegemite and another the jar of honey. The fourth would get teaspoons and we'd sit under the table and scoop portions from each jar to lick off our spoons. I can remember the sound of 'ssh, Dad's coming' floating around the room, punctuated by the sound of Dad's slippers flopping on the floor, coming closer, stopping just inside the kitchen. We could see up to his knees. We always figured if we couldn't see Dad's face, he wouldn't be able to see us!
He never once let on that he knew we were there.