Tag Archives: birthdays

Let the celebrations begin…

11 Nov

It isn’t my actual birthday until 19th but I’m celebrating my big five oh with a massive party this weekend. I am SO EXCITED.

So excited, that it’s 5am and instead of being in bed deeply zzzzz-ing, I am babbling (again) from  my bathtub . When I said I’d make it a regular feature of it I really didn’t envisage sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to do it, but , hey, here I am with a glass of milk, blogging in the bath.

I love birthdays anyway. Not for the presents (although they are lovely to receive) but for the connection with friends, the cards and, mostly, the excuse for a celebration…drinks, dancing, laughter and lots of hugging and affirmation of being loved and sharing precious moments. I love reflecting on past years and creating new memories to recount throughout the next.

I also love the build up.

This year we, that’s Hubby and I have been party planning. Last year we had an amazing party for his 60th so decided to use the same format this year for my 50th but with him organising everything bar the food. So we set up an event on FB really early to get everyone in the mood and to give enough notice to those travelling from further afield. . Regular weekly updates and prompts. Two months of bulk cooking and freezing. Arranging accommodation,organising musicians , liaising with the venue. Dress shopping… All a bit like wedding planning with less white silk and no fresh flowers!

And today it began. Sisters and friends from afar have begun to arrive and we’ve had what we like to refer to as a pre party party …..

Anyway, I should now be sound asleep, but like a child waiting for Santa I just cannot calm down enough…. Fortunately no-one else is trying to out-stay-awake-me in order to hang a stocking on my bed post…..

Watch this space for a post hangover review of the weekend ….. Happy birthday to me!!!!

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Party panic…

2 Nov

I’ve woken up stressing.  I have a BIG birthday coming up and a big party planned for it. I am not the slightest bit worried about reaching the end of my 50th year on this planet. I’m also massively excited like a kid waiting for Santa, at the prospects of the party night. I’ll be surrounded by the most wo derful people I have the honour and joy of knowing and am lucky enough to have as friends. It’s overwhelming how many wonderful people I know and love, most surprisingly how many love me back. And they will (mostly) all be here from all over the country to share this moment in time with me in a few days. I’m fit to burst.

HOWEVER…..

HOW THE HELL DO WOMEN COPE ON DON’T TELL THE BRIDE?!?!

I have left Hubby in charge of the details  ie invites, music, venue ,stage; decor ,cake (?)… omg i’ve just realised i’m writing this blog as a subtle (?!?!!!!!) checklist for his good self…. I am truly a control freak!

NO. MY FREAKY OUT NESS is about the catering. The one not so small aspect I have taken control of… but without the involvement in the before, after and logistics.  So have woken in a cold sweat.

1, I don’t think I’ve catered for enough people.  I had planned to cook weekly and freeze ready to finish off on the day but I think there will be far more people at the venue than i’ve prepared food for

2: it’s a hot buffet. I asked Hubby to check it could happen at the venue. It can BUT The venue want me to wait until their restaurant closes.  How and when will I heat all the food and set it out? How can I relax and enjoy the party if we can’t use the kitchen until 9pm. It just won’t work

3. So how much should I interfere in the planning to sort this out or should I assume Hubby has a ‘kitchen team’ who will step up and action everything when the time comes?

3: I mean . There is food in various locations around the village… freezer space on loan. This food needs to rash the same cation be defrosted but some needs to be chilled,some heated and all laid out. How? By whom? I mean. It’s my birthday I plan to be pissed by 9pm not having spent 3 hours in a kitchen

4: and which kitchen if I can’t use the venue one until 9pm. This plan just won’t work

5: what i’m saying is (without wishing to interfere in Hubby’smaster plan) is that the food needs to be MUCH earlier otherwise I can’t partake in the party…

Over to you Hubster. …

 

The Illusion of time…

23 Nov

time

The earth rotates through light and dark; seasonal changes; constellations come and go from our skies. We make sense of this movement by dividing it into chunks: years, seasons, months, weeks, days and nights, hours, minutes, seconds. Man-made constructs to conform our lives and inter-react across homes, towns, countries, continents.  We can measure the generations; relate to our ancestors; make sense of centuries and even discuss in terms of millenia.

It’s the most fundamental level of conformism that we all participate in.  Imagine the chaos if we all did our own thing..

Anyway the whole point of this is that I just had several family birthdays to contend with.  It’s all very inconvenient because they all fall in the same month , in fact, in the same fortnight and right on top of the busiest time of my year and far too close to the celebrations called Christmas.  Maybe we should just move them to a more convenient time?!

Anyway.  My son reached 18 earth years and I reached the unwelcoming number 48.  That amounts to (roughly) 17,520 days or 420,480 hours. I wonder how many of those I have wasted?  I prefer to think there were all of value.

What is interesting is how some of those hours seemed to pass more quickly than others.  Some of those summers raced by. Some of those seasons went on for an eternity. Some of those memories seem to have been eons ago others only days.  How can it be 18 years (6570 days) since my son was born? It seems to have gone so fast.  How can we have only have lived in Wales 11 years?  It feels like a whole lifetime.

It’s a man-made construct but its far from linear, it bends and stretches, slides and folds. We might be able to measure it but we still have no control over it.

We measure our lives in years; for me, so far , that’ll be forty-eight of them.

My husband pointed out to me that if I was on Mars I’d only be twenty-four.  Sometimes life is so strange I think that everyone must be from another planet.  Maybe it’s me.  So, I think I’ll go with that.  I officially declare myself a 24-year-old Martian.  Happy Birthday to me.  I’ll be celebrating my 25th in two of your earth years.

special occasions…

20 Nov

Yesterday was my birthday.  I love birthdays.   I know some people don’t like them and have an issue with their age.  I don’t care about that – I LOVE birthdays.  Not because of the presents, although they are lovely, but because of the sentiment and the increased communication and the whole joy of celebration.

Before I go on I will just recap about my wonderful birthday celebrations.

For me they always begin with the Llanwrtyd Wells Real Ale Wobble – so good of my home town to put on a beer festival and live entertainment for my birthday!

John’s birthday is on the 5th, mine the 19th November.  In recent years we’ve chosen to give each other the birthday treat of a night or two away.  Or similar.  This year we booked a hotel room in Cardiff and some theatre tickets.  We did it some months ago, affording us time to enjoy contemplating how lovely it would be prior to the experience itself.

So 18th over to the 19th, after all the hard work of a busy B&B weekend, we meandered our way to Cardiff.  We mooched around quirky boutiques, old record shops, vintage stalls and cafes with homemade cakes.  We then lazed in the Novotel, had a lovely meal and walked along the Atlantic Wharf to the Millennium Centre where we belly laughed our way through Paul Merton and chums doing improv.  After which we found a cute little wine bar and perched ourselves on bar stools discussing items on our bucket lists. A taxi back to the hotel ‘cos my feet were killing me.  More wine.  Box of chocolates.  Etc etc.  In the morning a lovely late breakfast a leisurely regrouping of our possessions a repacking of all our new purchases and a sunny drive home over the snow-capped Beacons.

Birthdays,  seem to be occasions where our minds find time to focus upon individual friends and family members.  If only for a minute or two.  This is even more true with the increased access to each other via social media. Just for a moment you remember that person whose birthday reminder has popped up and you have the opportunity to wallow in a happy memory and you spare a moment and type something like ” Happy Birthday x” or “good to know you’re still alive” or” have one on me” or similar.

What it really says is “I may not often (or ever) see you but I remember you fondly and I take comfort in knowing you are out there somewhere”.  What could be more lovely than to be remembered by people of whom you too have fond memories ?

today my son turned 16…

9 Nov
exactly!

exactly!

Today my son, Jason, turned 16.  5;11  am this morning being the moment of his birth following a glorious pregnancy and relatively short labour which caused me to leave a party early to head for hospital as my waters broke!

I find my heart bursting with pride as I lie awake listening to J and friends celebrating into the early hours of today.  He wanted to surround himself with friends as the clock switched over from 23:59 on 8th to 00:00 and the beginning of 9th.  His friends did not let him down.  Surrounded by friends all holding their mobile phones whilst dancing and watching the time tick.  As the 9th arrived they cheered and hugged and leapt, lifting J off the ground and we, his parents, had the privilege of sharing that moment with him.

This memory will be stored in the brains archives along with a multitude of great friend and family related moments for him to draw upon in his adulthood and share with his own children and grandchildren as he grows older.

At this point I raise the point I want to really make  and that is that Jason has a group of incredible, great, wonderful friends (young adults).  They are polite, loyal, socially adept, and embrace life,more importantly , they look out for each other – reminding any potentially jaded adult that life is truly for the living.  sure they make mistakes, but don’t we all?

I admit that their move from the ages of innocence to experimental teen pushing the boundaries and questioning authority, took me off guard.  I faltered and didn’t handle all the situations appropriately .  Over- reacting at times, disrespecting teens who were oblivious to their ‘crime’ rather than taking my usual course of discussion and reason.  I couldn’t cope with the fast arrival of drinking, smoking, clearing up vomit etc – not often but from the over excesses of teen parties.  That move from child to ‘youth’ caught me unprepared, unqualified and without the tools to manage the situations.  The teens aren’t the only ones who make mistakes.  parenting doesn’t come with a manual.  unlike any other job you don’t get training before embarking on the various challenges that face you.

My expectations were unrealistic and my responses , on occasion reflected my lack of experience and the feeling of being out of control of the situation.  It’s almost like a switch being flicked from when they are kids trusting your advice and rules to when they are teens reasoning, questioning, testing boundaries.  So I made mistakes and upset some of them in the same way as they make mistakes taking their ‘pushing’ one step too far.  But without pushing to the limit how do you discover the limit?  How do you find your equilibrium.  Teens aren’t the only ones who are victims of excesses – we all do it – but we are ‘adults’ and society ‘allows us’.

These young adults are GREAT.  They have a passion for life and the future experiences available to them and sometimes those potential experiences are too tempting to wait for, sometimes they get the balance wrong, eventually they will get it right.  We were no different but perhaps our parents knew less about what we did and where we did it.  Perhaps we were a little older?  Perhaps not.

Moving from childhood to adulthood requires a redefining of roles and relationship.  As parents we have less say in what goes on in their lives, we have done most of the nurturing and we can only hope we did it well enough.  The goal , surely, is to ensure they grow into healthy, happy, independent, socially responsible adults.  So, as hard as it is to ‘let go’ of our ‘babies’ we must remember that that is what we are here to achieve.

I look at Jason and his friends and see their passion for all the possibilities that lay before them – adventure, freedom, independence, relationships, life.  They make me so proud, every single one of them in their own unique way.  some make the transition more smoothly than others but you can tell that all have the skills to get through and to largely, enjoy the journey. and with the friendships they have they will all be just fine.

Life is so different for this generation of kids.  They grow up quicker having access to ‘adult’ knowledge younger through TV and internet.  we cannot ‘protect’ them from the pressure to experience more grown up things so early or so fast.  We have to equip them with different information from that provided by our parents. both ours and their challenges are so different from those experienced by us or our parents.  Our parents dressed differently, listened to different music and socialised in different circles from us.  Yet we are likely to borrow our parents/kids clothes, share musical tastes, go to the same parties from time to time.  we are also likely to have more open discussion.  So we have had to adapt to a different style of parenting.  more open, more interactive, with more awareness of what our kids are doing.

I consider it an honour to have this opportunity, but it comes with challenges and hurdles and i do sometimes falter at the jumps first time round.  Mistakes have been made and probably will be made in the future.  The intention, however, is always good.  It’s a learning curve.

I love and adore my son and his friends and the way they interact with John and I.  I admire them all for the lives they have yet to lead, the mistakes they have made and the lessons they have learned.  They are wonderful young people who keep in our minds the benefits of embracing life and living for the moment.

I am blessed.  i have a healthy, happy, handsome and talented son and an extended family of his happy, handsome and talented friends.  I am blessed that they come here and feel at home, hug me and call me Mama.  Which brings me right back to my opening line.  My heart bursts with pride and joy and I feel honoured to be part of their lives for those moments they chose to share with me.

so, all you boys and girls (young men and women), you know who you are, and I love and admire you all for the potential you have and the joy you bring.

Cake by Penny Lowe of Top Tier Cakes

Cake by Penny Lowe of Top Tier Cakes

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