Day 8 of Holidays

One of the things that I particularly love about our holidays is the lack of a plan: we wake up, get up and after breakfast, we decide how we might like to spend the day once we have sussed out the weather. Yesterday was the only day of our fortnight that was pre-determined with a plan, as we had been invited to my Aunt and Uncle’s Golden Wedding party at their home. So it meant us getting dressed into our party clothes and being at their house for 1 pm. They had hoped to be in the garden but the storms were still hovering and as we arrived, the rain came down in a heavy downpour, so instead they had their 60 guests in their home. Luckily they have a large kitchen and several reception rooms so everyone was able to spread out and get comfortable.

Joshua has been to his Great Aunt and Uncle’s home before many times, so he greeted them both then he headed for the familiar settee in the lounge, where he planted himself for the duration of the party, initially next to strangers and then they kindly moved away to allow ,alternately, me or my husband to sit with Joshua. There was a beautiful buffet laid  out in the kitchen, to which I contributed my homemade cheese straws, and so we filled plates and brought them back to the settee to tempt Joshua with a range of tasty treats. He drank a lot of orange juice but only ate tortilla chips and grapes, then a chocolate brownie, made by my cousin, for pudding.

We did not know many of the people at the party, as many were their friends, and so I kept being asked how I knew the Golden Couple , so I explained that I was their niece that my Uncle was my late father’s only remaining sibling. Everyone was very friendly and I learnt more about their lives and friends, and as we toasted them and they both said a few words, it was possible to feel the love and emotion in the room and I was thrilled to be there to share in the celebration. I was one of the few guests who was present on the black and white wedding photographs that were on display, even though I was just two and a half years old.

It was only as I was leaving, when saying our goodbyes, that I got upset. As I hugged them, I was overwhelmed by a sense of loss, that Mum should have been there too. Apparently it was Mum who persuaded them to have a party, so all the more reason that she should have been there to enjoy it. There were lots of toddlers and young children playing in the garden when the sun tried to come out, and Mum adored small children , so she would have been out there playing skittles or pushing toy tractors around the lawn with them or she would have taken a turn sitting with Joshua on the settee.  I realise that these family events are going to be painful, as we are going to feel our loss more acutely and the pain, though it comes and goes in waves, is still very raw.

Family Birthday Party

Joshua was on great form yesterday for our family party. He dozed off during the rainy two hour drive to my sister’s house, so that he was raring to go when he arrived. He was delighted to see his Aunt and Uncle, then he soon settled down with his ipad to watch Madagascar, while we all talked. The birthday girl appeared with her boyfriend and Joshua looked him up and down then announced, ” I like you!” which made us all smile.

My niece began opening her birthday presents, during which time Granny arrived too and she also got a hug and Joshua very clearly liked her too. When we sat down for lunch, Joshua enjoyed being surrounded by family as he looked around, taking us all in. He was hungry, as he kept pointing at the home-made lasagne, hoping that it was his turn to be served next. But his face really lit up when his uncle brought in a bowl of chips and placed them in front of him – now his day was complete! He proceeded to only eat chips, followed by two portions of apple crumble with custard, so it must have been a day for carbs. Again the ipad was useful for keeping Joshua at the table, while we sat around talking some more. He joined in and made us laugh when he shook his head enthsiastically in response to key questions. He definitely felt part of the party and made his presence felt.

He came in and out of the conservatory, where we retired for  a cup of tea, while we digested lunch and tried to make room for birthday cake. At one point he squeezed onto the settee next to me but virtually sat on the knee of my niece’s boyfriend, so they had become friends. He helped while Joshua messed around when I was trying to give him his medication in yogurt, which was kind. We all know what Joshua is like and make allowances for his quirks, but it is when someone new comes into the family that you become more aware of how Joshua might appear from the outside. But if he was taken aback , he did very well at not showing it and it was a happy, relaxed party.

It was dark by the time we left and Joshua was tired and quiet in the back of the car, so much so that I thought that he had gone to sleep. But when we stopped at the garage to check tyre pressures in response to a warning light, where there was an adjacent fast food outlet, it was clear that Joshua was not asleep and was very aware of the Big M as he began to shout out ” Doanlds…Donalds”. So we had to go inside and he had supper and we did not get home until 9.30pm, so it was straight to bed. Joshua had partyed hard so he was more than ready to go to sleep as soon as he climbed into bed. I was not far behind him.