Happy Birthdays! Susan Catford
One thing we all have in common is that we all have a birthday. These are generally regarded as happy events to be celebrated. As a child, I was often disappointed by my
birthday as I was born in early January and after the Christmas/ New Year celebrations, it seemed that I was forgotten. I wished my birthday was later in the year, particularly as my mother thought it sensible to make me a second Christmas cake for my birthday which was not to my childish taste! My sister had a birthday two weeks later and I
envied her for the sponge birthday cakes she enjoyed.
Over the years, however, this situation improved considerably, partly due to the arrival our first son, also in January. He should have been a December baby, expected on Boxing Day but he didn't arrive then, or on New Year’s Eve or on my birthday the following week. He was reluctant to make an appearance and eventually, after waddling around looking
as if I had consumed the turkey whole and the Christmas pudding too, they decided to take pity on me and induce his birth. So here was another January baby but it proved to
be good news for me! Suddenly everyone remembered my birthday because it was days before his!! Admittedly my cards weren't up for long before they were replaced by his but it was always a joy to celebrate his birthday anyway.
January has proved to be a popular month for both friends and family birthdays over the years. We now lurch from Christmas to New Year then stagger from birthday to
birthday. Strangely enough, June is also well populated with birthdays so it is an expensive month too!
We have always enjoyed celebrating our two sons’birthdays as in the early days it was a good excuse to have friends join us for a beer or glass of wine while the children
tucked into their chocolate fingers, crisps, mini sandwiches and cocktail sausages. As they grew, ‘at home’ parties were replaced with party ‘ venues' such as Macdonalds. These were not cheap affairs particularly when most of the class from school were invited. ‘Goodie' bags were also obligatory- more expense! It all got easier when they reached the age where a visit to the cinema with a couple of friends sufficed. Even later, they had their own celebrations with friends at the pub and Mum and Dad were not even invited!!
Birthdays cease to have much significance as the years progress apart from the ‘milestone' birthdays. At first they have novelty value- 40 years old?? where have the years gone? A good excuse for partying and bringing together family and friends, these were fun. A few decades on and it is
not the same turning a corner into a new decade. I was disappointed not to be able to celebrate my last ‘big one' due to Lockdown ( together with many other people of course). I now have to wait for the next significant one but already three years have passed and I am not keen to rush to that one!
My father-in-law decided in his late sixties that he needed to celebrate his birthdays with a party in case he didn't reach the
next one. As only daughter-in law, it fell to me to lay on the food and drink for these events, transporting everything to
Somerset at the end of a working week. Needless to say he survived until he was ninety so there were a few good parties with lots of beer consumed!
Wishing someone a happy birthday is a nice thing to do but I always wish for many happy returns as it is wishing them lots more to come.
Meanwhile, I have just taken down my birthday cards even though they will not be replaced by my son's. A late bottle of champagne and a bouquet of flowers have
prolonged my celebrations this year. I will now look forward to celebrating everyone else’s over the coming months.
So here's wishing you all a Happy New Year and Many, Many Happy Returns for your birthdays whenever they may be. Always remember, growing old is not a bad thing as long as you stay young at heart!