Saturday, 26 January 2013

Birthdays- celebrate or couldn't care less?

It's my step dad's birthday today. I spoke to him at his home in Cyprus this morning through the fantastic medium of FaceTime and asked if my mum had made him a birthday cake. "Not yet" was the reply ( though one is planned for later today) but he had enjoyed a rare treat of a bag of Walkers crisps ( an English brand which is hard to get in Cyprus) and a pack of pork scratchings- a Black Country delicacy, sent overseas by his daughter. Not everyone's idea of a treat but he seemed happy!

My family likes to celebrate birthdays. The birthday boy or girl gets to choose special meals, activities and generally rule the roost. I wonder if this came about because my poor mum was born on Christmas Day which doesn't lend itself as a good day or even week for birthday parties, day trips or meals out unless you fancy roast turkey and Christmas pudding!

I was a bit of an odd child and remember my 13th birthday when I informed my mum I would be holding a dinner party serving food I had cooked myself. Two (female) friends came round and were duly served roast chicken by candlelight!

Having 7 children means it's almost always someone's birthday approaching. And because there's seven of them I do my best to make each child feel special. We've had some unusual requests for birthday treats. DS#1 doesn't really like iced cakes and so chose a pile of doughnuts topped by candles one year. And for his second birthday DS#7 asked for his own doner kebab!

DS#2 was lucky enough to have one birthday coincide with a family trip to Disneyland Paris. Although camping and as always, on a tight budget, we thought we'd splash out on a meal at Cafe Mickey where all the characters ( aka French people in costumes) gather every evening. We told the restaurant it was his birthday and paid in advance for an outrageously expensive cake. I was beyond pleased, verging on smug, at how amazing this birthday would be.

Turns out DS #2 is not too keen on oversized cartoon characters converging en mass. And not too keen on being the focus of an entire restaurant, especially when they are all singing "happy birthday" at him. I though at one point Goofy was going to get a slap when he pretended to help himself to some of the birthday boys supper but the moment passed and I was left chirping enthusiastically about how wonderful it all was to make up for my sons distinct and obvious lack of delight.

My husband couldn't care less about birthdays. If I didn't mention it on the day I don't think he would be bothered. Good job really- he hit a big number last year and I incorporated his party into my Big Fat Wedding Anniversary celebration so the fact it was a celebration for him too was a bit lost amongst the flowers, feathers, tiaras and cupcake extravaganza.

I never understand people who are coy about their birth date. They might drop into the conversation at a coffee morning that it was their birthday yesterday. Stuff that- I remind my friends and family constantly. I have a countdown on my phone. I post on Facebook for weeks beforehand and yes- I DO want presents and a big fuss thank you.

I celebrated by 39th birthday with a big night out, my 40th with a huge party ( tiaras obligatory) and on my 42nd I decided I would celebrate the day as my double 21st! Cue lots of bunting and as always, cake.

I don't have a special birthday this year- even I can't think of a way of making my 44th significant ( it's on May 14th by the way ). But luckily two close friends celebrate big birthdays this year and we have spa days, meals, a comedy club trip and even some night clubbing in planning stages. All we need now is some cake- and maybe some pork scratchings?







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