Of all the many modern technological advances now at our lucky fingertips, I have to say that my absolute favourite is Skype. In terms of bringing families and friends together, it just about edges out my other
addictions, namely Facebook and texting.
Today is Young James' fourth birthday and sadly we have been unable to get to Cardiff to join him for the celebrations. But this morning, thanks to Skype,
we were as good as sitting there in his home, singing a tuneful "Happy Birthday to You" and watching him playing with our present (the Octonauts Gup X Shoot & Rescue Vehicle, in case you didn't read the blog last week and so missed out on all the
drama of its purchase.)
James's Dad, our Son-and-Only, has the great knack of placing his laptop in such a position that we can watch the boys (James plus big brother Sam and baby brother Morgan)
carry on with whatever they are doing. It is for all the world as if we are just sitting on the sofa, having dropped in for a cup of coffee and a ginger biscuit. Which, in Skyping terms, of course, we
have. There have been occasions when Skyping has been a less restful experience, for example when I called up grand-daughter Hazel one day: "I'll show you my new bed!" she declared, gathering up her laptop and carrying it (and therefore
me) upstairs. I felt quite queasy by the time we reached our destination.
But here we are in Cardiff on James's birthday morning - virtually speaking. Occasionally the boys look
up from launching slime discs and rescuing hapless sea creatures (the Gup X is, indeed, A Wonderful Thing) so that Sam can show us the gap where two baby teeth have fallen out or for James to reel off the names of all his mates from
nursery who will be coming to the party later that afternoon.
Ah, the party! How sad I am to miss the party! But I can see that the birthday banner I made has arrived in time to decorate
the hall, I have had a secret glimpse of the birthday cake (it's on an Octonauts theme, what else?) and James's Mum, my lovely daughter-in-law, has thoughtfully made Ready, Jelly, Happy Birthday Go, Go, Gos (see the Cook Book page!) because she knows I would
have made them, had I been there.
I was there in spirit, if not in person. I was pinning the tail on the donkey and doing the Hokey-Cokey with all the other four year olds. I was enjoying
the party tea and helping James blow out the candles on his cake. "Happy Birthday, James," I sang at the top of my voice.
You know what they say. We do not stop playing because we grow old.
We grow old because we stop playing.