Joshua’s first birthday celebration could not have gone any better, we all had a great day : I woke up at 5am and my head was immediately buzzing with jobs that I needed to complete, so I started washing the kitchen floor then I iced the chocolate cake that I had made the night before and finished laying the dining room table. I took the dogs out for their walk, still while the men slept on. As all was still quiet when I got home, I decided to enjoy a lazy bath, where I could respond to Joshua’s online birthday greetings, rather than starting the noisy hoovering.
Finally at 9.30, the birthday boy and his father emerged from sleep, so I made them some porridge and I took it into Joshua while singing ‘Happy Birthday to You’. He humoured me but his morning started the same as any other : porridge, bath then music. As Joshua settled on the settee in the lounge listening to ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, my husband and I put 21st birthday bunting, banners and balloons up around the house.
I heard on the news about collections for the people of war-torn Ukraine and I found that our home town had a collections point for donations yesterday. So once tidy, I felt guilty about how much excess we had in terms of food and warm clothing. So we filled bags and bags full of spare fleeces, coats, tinned and packet foods and put them in Joshua’s den, ready to distribute after the party.
The first car load arrived just before midday, as my sister, brother in law, niece and her fiance arrived. His Aunt followed me into the lounge to find a dozy Joshua on the settee, and he leapt up and the sight of her and gave us both a hug. He came through into the kitchen to find the rest of the car full and was delighted to see the party already in full swing. Next my friend and her family arrived, who were also greeted excitedly and finally, Yorkshire Grandma appeared and the guest list was complete. My husband organised drinks for everyone while I continued cooking. Our kitchen adjoins our snug so everyone sat in their so that we could chat while I cooked. Joshua was enraptured by seeing all of his favourite people in his house and his eyes, and smile, were wide, taking it all in.
I ushered everyone into the dining room when the food was ready : I had made beef in beer and vegetable chilli as my main dishes, served with rice, garlic bread and potato wedges. Everyone tucked in except Joshua who was too overwhelmed to eat, and his porridge was not that long ago. We pulled crackers, as Joshua adores them but while we were still eating Joshua excused himself from the table, demanding ‘Music!’ so he went next door, while we ate. My sister brought a delicious strawberry pavlova for dessert, to add to my raspberry trifle and banoffee pie, so we had a lot of creamy puddings to choose from. Once we had eaten seconds and were fit to burst, we retired to the lounge where Joshua’s presents and cards were waiting. I opened the gifts from the guests who were there, while an interested Joshua looked on and commented on his presents with a thumbs up of approval.
Then it was time for birthday cake, despite feeling full. Joshua enjoyed being sung to but I had to light and blow out his candles on his behalf. All too soon, it was time for our guests to leave : my niece had a train to catch and Yorkshire Grandma needs to drive in daylight. So everyone had left by 4.30 and the house seemed quiet but messy! We just had time to pack the car with donations and to all go the the supermarket car park with our warm clothing and tinned foodstuffs for Ukraine. It was the perfect end to our day of excess, love and generosity, allowing us to share some of our good fortune with those poor war refugees who have nothing.