Birthdays, that 1 day in the year to celebrate you. The day that everyone treats differently, everyone has their own traditions, their own unique take on what makes a birthday special, where there is no right or wrong but there is usually cake!
This week was my birthday and on Monday whilst I sat glued to my desk at work the Mr text me to say he had an early birthday surprise, in the form of my absolute favourite thing – 36 beautiful Macarons which he had flown over from a patisserie in France. The best start to any week.
It is hard as an adult and especially as a parent to a school age child to not feel like a birthday is the same as any other day. Not in the ‘woe me’ sort of a way but just practically. People have to work, not everyone remembers, or gets around to seeing you and truthfully there is just things to do. Life goes on but just with the expectation that this day should be a little bit better than any other one.
So on Thursday after the school run the littlest and I had a quiet day at home, some friends came round after school and once Eddy returned from work we headed towards the bedtime routine. After some opening of cards and presents of course as Eva hadn’t wanted to miss out while she was at school! We sat surrounded by presents with a cup of tea and some cake, naturally. Caketoppers kindly sent me some gorgeous photo cupcakes which as well as being so lovely to see our photos in edible form, were also very delicious. I particularly liked the chocolate one and the girls loved to see themselves depicted in icing. Although obviously Eva couldn’t eat the cake itself she did try the icing and then asked for more, a true sign of enjoyment!
After approximately 5 seconds to get ready with children shouting from the bath we left the grandparents to bedtime and went on a rare night out. As we sat in a bar with a huge glass of wine we laughed at the change in the way we now celebrated. In the fact that with the children we make a huge effort to plan their outfits, to make their cake after browsing through Pinterest for months before and ensuring that they feel like the only person in the world just for that day. Yet we are lucky to get changed into something that doesn’t have dried food on it, has been worn all day at work and pampering consists of adding a bit of lipstick to that days make up and wearing shoes that do in fact cover up the fact you haven’t had time to paint your toenails….thank goodness for autumn birthdays!
And then as if it was a sign from the universe to kick us up the bum we had a phone call that the littlest had been sick and no sooner had we started this night out, half a glass of wine later we were back home, sitting on the sofa, watching tv. Thankfully she was fine and we all had a restful night.
It wasn’t a great birthday, it wasn’t exciting or memorable but it was ok, it was life. Last year on my birthday I ended up in an ambulance with Eva who had a bad case of croup, the year before I was laid up in bed pregnant with Roma suffering from hyperemesis. But you know what? I would do these birthdays over and over again for my babies. Because yes we moan and we make sarcastic remarks on a daily bases and promise that next year will be different, that we still have to be ourselves and what happened to our lives?! Whilst this is totally true I would still give every single one to be where I am.
And that is what stops me in my tracks, what makes me reevaluate the whole thing. Because to a child a birthday is so special why wouldn’t you be as excited as they are. I missed my biggest girl so so much because she is what makes life a joy, and as I picked her up from school she came rushing out of the gates shouting “Happy Birthday” having told everyone in her class. When we opened presents and cards she sat there so excited for me. I lost count of the times she sang to me and hugged me tight on my special day.
It might not have felt great for me but it did feel great for her.
The Christmas time birthday that she is blessed with might feel like a bit of a pain to her, but to me it means that I will never have to share her with school and I can make it the most exciting day every single year. Her little sister isn’t so lucky and I am not sure what I will do come the day I have to send her to school on her birthday but for now I am going to pretend that isn’t going to happen.
So we’ve made pact. No more ‘it’s just another day’ for us and no more work work work. The washing can wait, the cleaning can wait, the homework can wait. It goes without saying that if the children need us we are there in a heartbeat but it is a special day that happens just once a year, just like I would make it special for them let’s make it special for us too.
We will take holidays, let our children shower us with balloons and confetti, sing happy birthday loud for everyone to hear and eat cake until it comes out of our ears. I want my children to learn to celebrate for others just as much as they would for themselves. And for us to realise that we learn more from our children about how to appreciate life than we probably teach them ourselves.
**Thank you Cake Toppers for sending me these cakes to help celebrate this ordinary special day.
Linking with Katie Mummy Daddy Me for the Ordinary Moments
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