Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Three birthdays

Today is my birthday. Funny things, birthdays, with their distant connotations of childhood excitement, and more recent ones of the heck-can-I-really-be-that-old variety. But today has been lovely so far, and I'm certainly not complaining. That (this) birthday is the first of the three.

The second is so clear in my mind because it was my Most Disappointing Birthday. I think I was about eight, and expecting something exciting; something I could play with. But my beloved, mad mother had succumbed to the blandishments of a door-to-door salesman, and bought me eight volumes of The Children's Encyclopaedia. Now, I loved books, and read a greats deal, but this was not at all what I wanted as my main birthday present, and I can still feel the disappointment as keenly as I did then. I came to love those volumes, and read and re-read them, but they were not what I'd wanted for my birthday.

The third birthday was 23 years ago. I know I wrote of my husband's death very recently, but this birthday was memorable because in a way, for me, it sowed the first seeds of hope. My birthday was the day before the funeral, and my youngest son, at eleven still unable to imagine anyone not being excited about their birthday, went up the road late at night and persuaded an elderly neighbour to help him make me a birthday cake. His beaming face when he brought it in the next morning will stay with me always. That cake was never eaten, but it was the most special birthday cake I have ever had.

John is cooking fillet steak tonight. Mmmmm!

23 comments:

  1. I hope that you continue to have a wonderful and memorable day although as the first day of Lent I would have thought you would be on fish a and not fillet steak.

    I can only remember two of my birthdays (50 and 60) and for the sole reason that wonderful parties were organised for me. I'm not a lover of parties but these were huge gatherings of friends (and in the first case the surprise of my brother arriving on the night from 500 miles away) organised by people I loved dearly.

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    1. Thank you, Graham. It seems to be the thing now to have "big O" parties, doesn't it.

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    2. For my 70th I had a quiet dinner at home with a friend. I'm not really a birthday person.

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  2. Many happy returns. They returns too often for me.

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    1. Thank you, Adrian. Yes. Like Christmases they seem to come thick and fast.

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  3. Didn't you write about that childhood birthday (or something similar) in one of your books? Or perhaps you've mentioned it previously on the blog... I seem to remember it (vaguely) from Somewhere, anyway! I remember my 40th and 50th best for similar reasons as GB gives in his comment. Birthdays in my childhood were family celebrations only, as I shared birthday with my dad the day was never just "mine". (Nor, of course, was it ever just his any more, ever since I arrived in the world on his 24th. But that thought never really hit me until much much later in life...)

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    1. Oh - and Happy Birthday to You, Frances! :)

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    2. Thank you, DT. Yes, I may have posted about it before. Old people tend to repeat themselves.....

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  4. Huge virtual birthday hugs, Frances x

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  5. Very happy birthday Frances; that steak sounds perfect.

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    1. It was, Cro. Extravagant and delicious!

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  6. Belated Happy Birthday wishes to you, Frances! Such a touching memory about the cake your son made for you.

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  7. Belated happy birthday, Frances, sounds like a lovely day. And your son and the cake - so moving xx

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  8. Hope I'm not too late with my belated birthday wishes, Frances. Is that lovely son still making you birthday cakes?

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    1. Thanks, Rena. Sadly, the cake making son left home years ago, but he's still very sweet. He just doesn't make cakes!

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  9. Happy birthday for yesterday, Frances! I understand your disappointment with the encyclopedias (even though I loved my ten-set volumes) - not the kind of present for a birthday. What a lovely memory your son gave you at a sad time.

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary. Were your encyclopaedias red?

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  10. I was always interested in cookery as a young girl and would hang about the kitchen watching my mum. One Christmas (or it may have been a birthday) I received a children's cookery book. I can remember trying to look pleased, but inside I was disappointed. However, I came to love that book and took it with me when I left home. One year, I gave it away to a little girl that lived next door, and I still regret it. Glad all went well on your big day yesterday.

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    1. Magpie, I still regret getting rid of my Winnie the Pooh cook book. It had a marvellous, easy chocolate pudding recipe, which I've now forgotten.

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  11. Hope this birthday made the memory box too. My birthday was always during the examination period as a student and marking papers as a teacher!

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