What’s the good of a birthday, my dear Dad always used to say, if you can’t do what you like? So, today, on Mr B’s birthday (he has reached an Even Greater Age than I have) I decided that he should do
exactly what he wanted to do.
This was quite a tall order for me because, as regular readers will know, I have tended in the past to inflict my own Happy Clappy
Approach to Birthdays on my poor husband. My attitude has been on the lines of “So it’s your birthday and you are going to enjoy it if it kills me...” Could it be, I reasoned with myself, that I have been getting it wrong all these years.
When I say “all these years” you need to know that I met Mr B when he was just a couple of weeks off his twentieth birthday. How many years of forcing him to enjoy himself on his special day?
Incidentally, reasoning with yourself is quite a painful process because you know exactly which arguments will hold most sway with yourself. Plus there’s no walking away, is there, when you’re arguing with yourself?
One of you - you or yourself - will win the day and there might just be a Rude Awakening. The only thing to do is to accept the inevitable with a good grace.
therefore, I determined that I would be led by the Birthday Boy. It wasn’t up to me to decide when he should open his presents, what he should eat for dinner, how we should spend the day. I did start the day by singing Happy Birthday to him as I pulled
back the curtains - but softly, rather than at the top of my voice. So softly, in fact, that he opened one eye, grinned at me - and promptly went back to sleep. Well, what’s the good of a birthday? I asked myself as I trotted out to the kitchen to put
the kettle on...
He decided to wait until I returned from choir (he decided he didn’t want me to miss the first session back after Christmas on account
of it being his birthday) to open his presents and cards. His favourite card, from our lovely niece Debs and her family, read “Football - giving men an excuse to TALK BALLS since 1895.” He is going to take it to show the gang at Sporting Memories
next week - they will be sure to appreciate it, given that talking balls (of every size and shape) is what SM is all about.
After lunch, what he wanted to
do more than anything else was to watch the DVD of The Seekers’ 50th Anniversary Farewell Concert - a present from the Youngest of the Darling Daughters. Two hours of nostalgia, remembering the early days but also how we danced in the aisles at the Brighton
Centre in May 2014. Six years ago, that was - we didn’t know how much our lives would change between then and now but, just for this afternoon, we were back in the audience, singing along.
I could have cooked a special dinner for the two of us - perhaps a juicy steak with pepper sauce, chips and mushrooms washed down with a rather good bottle of wine. But when I asked the Birthday Boy what he really, really
wanted, he had a more modest request. What’s the good of a birthday, if you can’t eat what you want? So off I went to KFC...
There have been lots of
lovely telephone calls and video messages from the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys and the Rascally Trio. “Happy birthday for a hundred billion years!” chanted Young Faris. Extravagantly. My Belgian chocolate cake, too, seemed to hit the right
spot - I’d had a bit of trouble fitting all the icing letters on the top of the cake, so had to resort to placing those spelling out his name around the sides. As otherwise there would only have been me singing the time honoured refrain, Mr B decided
to join in, singing “Happy birthday to me!” That’s when I decided he was clearly really enjoying himself.
I hope your birthday was just the way
you wanted it to be, dear Mr B. I hope you did exactly what you wanted, and only what you wanted - because what’s the good of a birthday, if it’s your wife’s idea of fun and not your own.
I will love you for a hundred billion years. At least...