Over the past five days I have celebrated not one, but two, unbirthdays. Neither of them, I hasten to say, was mine. What I will say (as regular readers will not be surprised to hear) is this: why have one unbirthday,
when you could have two?
An “unbirthday” is a day when you celebrate somebody’s birthday even if it isn’t exactly the day on which they
were born. In these ever challenging times of the pandemic, I suspect there have been many more unbirthdays than usual, as people make haste to fit in a celebration before yet another strangely named restriction (Rule of Six, anyone?) comes into play. In a
strange way, I venture to suggest, some of these celebrations will be particularly memorable just because of the circumstances in which they were held.
we celebrated the unbirthday of the Eldest of the Darling Daughters. In her case, she had already enjoyed her actual birthday but was on leave this week - hence her last minute dash to see us before Lockdown locked us down again. Even better, granddaughter
Eleanor and her boyfriend Nathan took the train from Brighton where they are at university to make her mum’s (unbirth)day. What do you buy the woman who has more or less all she needs? On Eleanor’s prompting I bought my eldest daughter - a tea
pot. It seemed a strange idea, but Eleanor assured me it was just what her mum wanted. It also occurred to me that a rainbow tea pot and mug would be the perfect 2020 gift, while for a personal touch I could add a hand-knitted tea cosy. I think my presents
went down well but the proof will be in the drinking (of tea.)
There was lots of chat, a toast with prosecco and the customary singing of Happy Birthday to accompany
a cake, complete with candles. As if it knew this was a special day, the sun shone for us and it was actually quite warm in our sunny, south-facing garden.
days earlier I helped my Little Sister celebrate her unbirthday, a whole fortnight before the due date. It was a red letter birthday, as in one with an 0 at the end of it - though you would never think so, to look at my sister who is definitely the Peter Pan
of our family and never seems to age. The main event was to be an unbirthday lunch at an exclusive local restaurant overlooking the river at Christchurch. Would we be able to have a table in the window, my sister asked as she booked our meal over the
phone? The response was somewhat equivocal so I hissed at my sister to inform them that it was her birthday. It’s not like me to be so, well, forward - but it did the job.
We turned up at the restaurant wearing the birthday badges which my brother-in-law had obtained. What more proof was needed that we were celebrating a birthday, we thought? Until, that is, it occurred to us that our badges, as well as featuring a charming
photo of the Birthday Girl, carried the exact date of her birthday on November 14th. Fortunately we seemed to get away with it...
My present to my Little Sister
was two separate figurines, one of two young sisters, the other of two grown-up sisters. I accompanied each with a short poem, both made up,of memories from our shared past. I tried hard to include memories which would make her laugh but we still ended up
crying as she read them. Funny, isn’t it, we never ever made each other cry when we were children - but today anything which reminds us of our shared childhood will set us off.
Two special unbirthdays for two people who are very dear to me.
I am so glad I was there to celebrate with them.