Saturday, 25 August 2012


Today is my birthday. I'm 17. I know it's difficult to believe because I don't look a day older than 16.

This morning I have been reflecting on birthdays. Children long for their birthdays. They love the fuss and attention (and if I'm honest, so do I!). They look forward to the birthday traditions followed by each family. They enjoy the cake, the presents, the parties, the acknowledgment of their growing up. The whole shabang. (Is that a made up word? The spell checker didn't seem to recognise it.)

Adults on the other hand are quick to dismiss their birthdays. Do we really want to be another year older? Is there anything to celebrate in gaining yet another year on our age?

Last night I was feeling rather grumpy at my impending grand old age of 17. I went to bed feeling old and past it. I don't think this was helped in any way by spending the last week camping with 7,000 teenagers who made me realise that perhaps I am not 17 after all (ssshhhh). I was not looking forward to this day at all.

My boys, however, were 'secretly' (but loudly) planning to celebrate my special day in style. Before bedtime last night they all scampered off to their bedrooms where I overheard sniggers, giggles, poems and raps being practised, paper being cut and "I love you's" being whispered. Toby came downstairs armed with a notebook and asked me what my order for breakfast in bed might be, then raced back upstairs to his fellow conspirators un-whispering his news. It warmed my 17 year old heart.

This morning, I was woken with homemade cards and presents (the best kind), funny little poems (you're so cool, you make men drool...??!), tear jerking sentiments from boys who can clearly show their love, flowers, breakfast on a tray, chocolate tiffin and lots of hugs and kisses from boys who would usually rather not (Max is going for a record in how many hugs he can give me today. He doesn't often hug me so I am making the most of his stiff-backed hugs).

I realised that whether I want to celebrate being 17 or not, my boys want the celebration. They want to use the occasion to show their love for me. My boys who have spent most of the summer holidays arguing with each other and shouting at me for being the worst mummy in the world actually don't mean those things they say in the heat of the moment. They do love me. It's all simmering there under the surface and all they need is an occasion to let it bubble over. Today it has well and truly bubbled. Perhaps it's worth being 17, after all.

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