One of my pet hates about me, is that I'm a Big Fat Sook.
Whenever there is an important family celebration, I'm unable to give a speech because I know I will bawl my way through it. I even turned down the opportunity to propose a toast at my godson's wedding a few years ago, because I knew I'd end up blubbering.
I blame my Dad.
He used to be a consummate public speaker, though often gets croaky and emotional as he gets older.
As for me, I was an award-winning public speaker and debater in my younger days, amateur theatre actress, and also worked as a television and radio journalist before specialising in print. I've interviewed politicians, singers and movie stars, all without nerves.
But in my personal life I inexplicably get all girly when it comes to chatting with people I love and admire. And as I've grown older and worked more and more on my own, from home, I've actually become insular and really quite shy. (Hard to believe, I know).
Since becoming a Mum, I've become emotional as well. Hell, I cry at Kleenex ads! Not to mention Christmas carols, graduations, birthdays, christenings, and weddings.
So if I have to talk about why I love someone, or thank them for being there, I turn into a wobbly bowl of jelly.
I can write about my feelings of course. I'm a writer, I'm great at hiding behind my words - or at least letting them express what I physically cannot.
But still, it annoys the hell out of me, that I cannot stand up and be heard.
There have been a few family celebrations recently, where I've been in awe of friends and family who have gotten up and spoken about how they feel about certain people in our lives.
And I've certainly thanked them for saying what they did and expressed my own admiration that they've been able to do it, and so well.
They seem nonplussed at all the fuss. As if getting up and speaking about feelings in front of a crowd, is not a Big Deal at all.
At the latest event, my lovely Dad Colin and my sister's Mother In Law Doris, celebrated their 80th birthdays.
In a freak-of-nature coincidence, Dad and Doris were born in the same hospital; their Mums side by side in the ward in a tiny Lockyer Valley Hospital.
Dad's Mum, my Nana, had to travel one day to get there, and another day to take baby Colin home to the South Burnett, while Doris grew up in the Lockyer Valley region of Queensland.
(In other news, Dad, at 13-plus pounds, born in the days without c-sections or epidurals, was the hospital's biggest ever baby, which probably describes why he was an only child.)
Years later, Doris's son Owen, and Dad's daughter (my big sister, Leanne), fell in love, married, brought up kids and grandkids and all the rest. Our family lives have been intertwined ever since.
So it was lovely that both families and friends were able to celebrate together.
People travelled from all over for the occasion, while others sent congratulatory messages. Some peeps gave wonderful speeches, while I gave an awesome one in my head.
One day, I might Harden Up and give a speech in person.
Readers, is there anything you wish you could do?
My Dad, Mr 80. He was a talented guitarist, singer and yodeller back in the day, and even performed on live radio.
The cakes were made by my big sister, and iced by her and her daughter. Clever clogs. This one was for Doris.
And this was Dad's.
Miss 7 helped with the decorating...
Aspie Mr 9 helped with the eating, but as you see, everything had to be set out Just Right.
Some of Dad's memorabilia. He and his parents ran a successful cattle stud way back when.
I did manage to pose for a family photo with Mum, Dad, Big Sis. and Big Brother 1. Big Bro. number two couldn't make it from WA, but we'll be seeing him soon.