Birthday Celebrations Day 3

On Joshua’s 21 year and one week birthday, we went to my sister’s house for another party. This was a joint celebration of Joshua’s birthday, my sister’s house-warming and a reunion with Mum’s two younger sisters who we had not seen together for two and a half years! I was very excited to see them again, although we keep in touch regularly, there is no substitute for a real , not virtual, hug. As I was dressing Joshua after his bath at home, my phone beeped at me. It occasionally creates a short videos along a particular theme, such as a collection of photographs from the Isle of Wight over the years. But yesterday for the first time ever, it sent me a video of photographs of Mum from 2018! The timing could not have been better, as I stopped everything to watch the video then share it with my Aunts and sister. You know that I believe in signs from beyond the grave, well this was too much of a coincidence for me, I interpreted this as Mum telling me that she would be with us today and this gave me such a warm glow as we packed the car up.

It was almost a 2 hour drive to my sister’s house and we were, as is usual, the last to arrive of our party of 8 of us, with three having to call off sick. There were hugs all round as we arrived and Joshua is already very familiar with his Aunt’s house, so he made a beeline for the settee and soon made himself at home. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and had so much news to share and catch up on, it was a very happy occasion. Joshua has thrived in these birthday celebrations, just soaking up the attention and giving out so many thumbs ups. We moved from the dining table into the lounge, where we moved from lunch to tea and cake, with barely a gap between treats, so we were very well looked after.

Of course Joshua’s Great Aunts wanted to hear all about his daycare experience, about my niece’s wedding plans, about my retirement as well as having a tour of my sister’s new bungalow. We phoned Mum’s older sister, who lives in Ireland so could not join us, but we wanted her to feel part of the family party too. She spoke with each one of us in turn, which was lovely. Mum was very lucky to have been close to her three sisters and it made me feel even more acutely, that she was physically missing yesterday – although I am convinced that she was sharing the day, if only in our memories and through her resemblance to her sisters.

There were so many hugs as it was time for my Aunts and cousin to leave, hugs that we had all missed in the 2.5 years since seeing each other. Once topped up on hugs and news, we waved them off. One more cup of tea – and we had consumed plenty – with my sister then we too left them in peace. Joshua had really enjoyed another sociable weekend and he still has one more birthday treat to come on Friday too. I think we can safely say that this 21st birthday has been well and truly marked.

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