I’ve never been the biggest fan of birthdays. All that attention. All that expectation. That it will be different from all your other days. And let’s face it, it’s quite a quaint, old fashioned custom of ours – celebrating an arbitrary date in our Gregorian calendar.
But as I’m getting older I’ve come to enjoy birthdays more and more. They are, after all, an excuse to eat cake, drink champagne and surround yourself with wonderful people. They are a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come in life and what you still want to do and achieve. But mostly birthdays should make you feel loved. And mine did – and I know this makes me one lucky girl.
My reflections on turning 34:
- It was only when I became a mother that I fully appreciated what my mother went through and sacrificed for me. Childbirth, sleepless nights, a total devotion to another human being – I wish she was around so I could thank her again and again.
- You’re never too old for balloons. Or candles. Or presents. Having children has brought back the child in me and it’s wonderful. So on my birthday I blew up some green balloons, dug out some pink birthday candles and ate some chocolate cake. And I loved every minute of it.
- My loved ones know me so well. And this was reflected in such thoughtful gifts from them. I’m not big on “things” but when they’re beautiful things, or useful things, or reflect a little part of you – then that makes all the difference.
- I see my gifts as a reflection of how far I’ve come. Living things: seedlings for the vegetable garden I’ve always wanted (strawberry, artichoke, gooseberry); an elegant white orchid; a bunch of blush coloured roses.
- A plate with windmills and sheep on it: two of my favourites.
- Books, earrings and boxes in which to keep my special things.
- A little gold St Christopher pendant – to replace the one I lost a year ago. My mother gave me the original pendant when I first travelled to the UK and it became a kind of talisman, something to keep me safe wherever in the world I was, to keep her near me.
- So when I lost it in the PE airport over Christmas I was heartbroken. I tried to be philosophical about it, because that airport meant something to us. It was always the place she met me when I returned from long journeys and I could visualise her standing behind the glass, pacing, checking her watch, and waiting for her beloved daughter to come home.
- This birthday my husband gave me one to replace it and now whenever I wear it, I will think of her and of him.
Finally, I’ve realised that I’m comfortable with getting older. I know who I am, a little more now than I used to. I know the things I’m not. I know the kinds of people I like and those I don’t. And that is a wonderful thing. I wouldn’t trade that for a few less wrinkles, even if I could.