Well that is now Joshua’s 18th birthday well and truly celebrated and he has been spoiled rotten with gifts, cards, birthday money and birthday hugs. The final treat was yesterday , when 21 of us met at a restaurant for Sunday lunch. We were travelling the furthest and so everyone was already assembled by the time we battled through sleet and hail to get there. Joshua rushed to the lounge area where everyone was toasting his birthday and he immediately sat down between his Granny and his Great Aunt, to take the scene in. He had both grandmothers, all three Aunts and Uncles, as well as a Great Aunt and Uncle,and five cousins there – the three grown up cousins had brought their partners too- and he smiled and waved at everyone. He was rather overwhelmed by the crowd as he kept seeking me out to hold my hand for reassurance, but he was very happy and pleased to see everyone.
We sat down at our long table, which was decorated with his favourite crackers to pull and he had gigantic ’18’ balloons, as well as two personalised banners, so there was no doubting which was our table. We sat in the middle of the long table, surrounded by family and began to tuck into some delicious food, apart from Joshua who rejected his soup, fish and souffle and only tucked into my skinny fries! At several times during the meal, Joshua would stand up as if to make a speech; only he would wave, smile and flash his bare tummy instead , before sitting down again. He was milking being the centre of attention and the reason that we were all gathered.
After our three course meal, the waiter brought my homemade Malteser cake so that we all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, while the candles flamed away. We called upon his two young cousins to help him to blow them out and I made a wish on his behalf. I was amazed that most people still had room to eat a slice of chocolate cake and we divided the remaining half to send home to two absent family members. There were endless photos taken of the occasion and they show the fun that was had and how lucky Joshua was to be surrounded by so much love. He enjoyed waving his guests off and receiving lots of hugs and kisses, then he sat patiently in the quietness, as we packed up his gifts, banners and balloons and tried to return the restaurant back to normal after our family invasion.
It was over a two hour drive home again and Joshua dozed for much of it, until we reached the end of the motorway and he knew that he was almost home. He enjoyed a fun day but was really happy to return to the peace of his den, which I have decorated with his banners, balloons and some of his cards. We both needed an early night, but I went to bed satisfied that no 18 year old could have had a better week of celebrations, I think we did him proud.