Every year there are a number of birthday traditions that must be upheld.
Today is my birthday! Which can mean only one thing: baby photos
29 years ago exactly, a little girl with a scrunched up cat-face was born: me. I did not have a lightning shaped scaron my forehead. In fact, apart from innate skill at jauntily working a beret, I was perfectly ordinary in every way.
1.The pestering of my mother to tell the story of my birth. She hated the hospital so much that when she was in labour she kept coming home in a taxi and my dad had to plead with her to go back to hospital. To distract my increasingly tense father my grandmother bullied him into making jam tarts with her and my elder sister. When I was finally born at 7.45pm, the nurses took me away to allow my mother to go to sleep. But she didn’t want to leave me so she kept walking down to the nursery to steal me back. I love this story.
2. A day off work. When I was at school I hated being born in August, everybody was always on holiday = less presents. Thoughtless parents why couldn’t they have time their amorous activities to a more felicitatious time of year 😉 But now I love that my birthday always falls in the holidays as it means I get to celebrate in a variety of exotic locations. Even if I’m not going away I always make sure I book time off.
3. Pre birthday night excitement. Even though I am probably too old I must admit that I still get very excited by my birthday. I love celebrating the passing of another year. There’s something about the possibilities and this year what the wedding and university seems even more exciting than usual. Plus pressies!
I don’t really have a favourite birthday, it would be like picking a favourite child. But some birthdays stand out. There were the early years playing pass the parcel in my garden where I always got to unwrap the last present. Thinking back this may have been a fix, cunning parents! Or the year we drove over the Swiss border to visit my mum’s best friend and ate delicious chocolate cake and fondue. There was my 18 birthday three days after I received my A level results when I and everybody I knew was too hungover to function. Or the one, where like the cast of Eastenders we went to the dogs and I was so bad at betting that other people would change their bets if they knew I was betting on a particular dog. Or where we all dressed as superhero characters. I was She Ra.
But today I want to take you back to my first birthday with He Who Shall Not Be Named (HWSNBN). For those who don’t know HWSNBN and I call each other by a long list of ridiculous nicknames. I won’t say on this very public forum what I call him because I don’t want to die on my birthday. But I can reveal that HSWNBN calls me kitten, start gagging now, because of the scrunched up cat face and my habit of falling asleep anytime, anywhere. It’s a skill people!
HWSNBN and had only been going out for six months, so I was still on my best behavior. I did not yet want him to know what a psycho I was. As I got out of the bath, there was a trail of chocolate fish up the stairs. ‘How exciting’ thought a freshly scrubbed me, ‘a romantic gesture!’ I had read about these in novels, but had never experienced one in person. On the bed where two smallish presents. Jewellery thought I, as I unwrapped a can of tuna (that I do not eat) and a ball of string.(I am still have the string, I am a hoarder. HWSNBN ate the can of tuna. He has no soul.) I looked around the room there was no more presents. I looked at HWSNBN’s expectant face. And I lied. ‘How funny. I really love it.’ At which point he drew the real presents out from under the bed.
This started a long tradition of HWSNBN tricking me. For example, when I got home yesterday.
HWSNBN: *excitedly* What would you do if you opened a carefully wrapped present and inside there was a fast-moving spider?
Me: Scream, hit you. Why?
HWSNBN: *looks guilty*
Me: What if the spider suffocated in there?
HSWNBN: *thinks for a moment* Best.present.ever
Yes my boyfriend is officially weirder than yours.
This year I had an amazing birthday picnic in the park. We were gifted with blue skies and sunshine and tables heaving under the weight of cake. By Saturday evening something unprecedented happened: I was all caked out and could not stomach another bite. I was obviously malfunctioning. Not to worry I am all better now. Thanks to everybody who could make it, it was great to see you all. Today I am spending the day with my family. There will be walks at my favourite place, sunbathing in the garden and a long lazy dinner.
So as I blow out my candles, I get a birthday wish. And my wish is this: I hope wherever you are today, that it is a good day. That you and everybody you love is healthy and happy. All these things I wish for you my lovelies. And if your anything like my Dad happiness is a baby in one hand and a fag in the other. Bliss.