Today, so far, has been fantastic. I say ‘so far’ because there’s still a lot of today left: in a couple of hours I’m being treated to dinner out with my bezza and I’m then off to the pub with friends for birthday drinks. I’m feeling oh so good about my birthday, as per usual. Another year older? Yes, but another year of terrific memories stored away, and another year to come – starting now.
A big part of why today has been so special is the birthday lunch I shared with my family. Four generations of people I’m crazy about sharing good food (thank you, Mama Vickers), good laughs and – without wanting to sound like one of those greetings cards that make you want to vom – some pretty special moments courtesy of my one year old niece (more on that later.)
How many of you are wondering what kind of parallel universe I live on that makes this somehow the ideal way to spend my birthday? Why aren’t I on a weekend jolly to Amsterdam, or wrapping myself around a lamp post somewhere, or already elbow-deep in the houseparty to end all houseparties? Not just birthdays but weekends generally are surely all about me, and a trip to visit the rents is to be dreaded or avoided, right?
According to a survey last year, British families spend less than an hour a day together on average, and ‘quality time’ together seems to be old-fashioned; the very suggestion that you enjoy it is an instant mark that you’re lonely, friendless and in desperate need of a hangover. The issue is I don’t really know many people that share this view, so I’d love to know where this massive chunk of Society is from which I’m somehow totally disconnected.
The reason my best friend didn’t come with me to my family ‘do is because she was off out with her own family for another birthday celebration. As I left my visit to my housemate at her Uni two weeks ago, she was dashing back to get her house prepared for her whole family who were coming to visit her on campus. When I spoke to one of my oldest friend’s father the other day about the ‘birthday tea’ tradition of in their household that I used to witness each year, he confessed they still did it even though everyone was all grown up now. And my colleague’s birthday on Monday is being spent with her entire family, despite the fact that it’s Valentine’s Day and all her kids have partners – they’d rather spend it together.
It’s reassuring and lovely to see it’s not just me that can still have fun with people despite the horrific social slur of actually being related to them. And while I was enjoying post-lunch games with Summer, my brother started trying to get her to play with a mini-football. It was her first time being introduced to it, but that didn’t stop her from managing to dribble it around the room thirty seconds later. The entire family, naturally, went barmy, and made her do it about eleventy times. And I couldn’t help thinking that there’s not a single mini-break I’d rather be on, a single house-party-related stain I’d rather be mopping, or a single lamppost I’d rather be wrapped around instead of being right there, sharing that new trick, and joining in afterwards with the inevitable attempt to teach her goal celebrations. A birthday well spent.
Image taken from russelljsmith‘s photostream.