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!