A folded maroon t-shirt with a child's handwriting on it, in gold, reading 'I am elderly now'.

A T-shirt To Retire In

Last year, my seven year old learned about the stages of life at school, as he traced his own background and learned about childhood, teenage years, adulthood, and old age.

One of the stages of life they covered was later life; specifically the link between retirement and old age. They learned about being ‘elderly’ and all of the things that people might do in their retirement years. Somehow this all got conflated in Bean’s mind, and, rather wonderfully, the magical age of 65 seems to have become this golden milepost. It doesn’t seem to have mattered to either the school or Bean himself that the national age of retirement is no longer 65, but 65 is the golden number, and it’s all in sharp focus at school at the moment because the teaching assistant in his class is retiring in a few months (at 66, but what’s a year?), and when she first met the class she told them how very, very old she was. She was elderly, she explained.

And so, back in our more domestic setting, Bean’s Nana (my Ma) has recently had her 65th birthday, and Bean has been looking forward to marking the momentous occasion for over a year. Because it was the golden number, he wanted to get her something extra special. No, better than that, he wanted to make her something extra special, so he told me what to buy in preparation, and I duly did.

Bean made his Nana a t-shirt. A simple message on the front, which he wrote on the iPad and which I converted to a cut file for him to cut all by himself on the Cricut, and press all by himself using the heat press, on a t-shirt that he worked on every step of.

Nana knew that she was getting a special t-shirt for her birthday. She didn’t know what was on it, but she promised to wear it all day to celebrate, and she did, all the way through her surprise birthday party.

As an additional push towards the 65th birthday being the most joyous of days, Bean wrote the following message in his Nana’s card:

‘To Nana,
Have an extra special day and have fun having no job and being an elderly!’

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