My little Sibs had a birthday recently.
I actually think that someone tampered with the calendar as there is no way that a year has gone by since the last one!
Anyhow, as the date drew closer and the crosses on the wall calendar increased, we began to think about how to celebrate.
Each year she has had a party. We have had the small family gathering in the back garden type of party, we've had a whole class in the park rainbow party, a disco in the living room, a girly tea party, even a Jane Austen inspired dinner party. Usually Sibs has an idea and we work with it.
This year however there was some big undecisiveness (is that a word?). Sibs wasn't even sure if she wanted a party and if she did, it was all a bit much coming up with the guest list.
We knew that we would mark the occasion in some way but somehow there was no clear idea about how...
All of a sudden it was the week before her birthday and in a break with tradition I decided to just get on with organising something for her.
It was not particularly thought out, but I decided to get together some of her friends and their families and plan a surprise party.
The night before her birthday we went out for a meal with Nana and Papa and Sibs invited a friend who had a sleep over. She thought that this was her birthday celebration.
The next morning her friend left and we pottered around and made it sound that an afternoon picnic in the park was just an impromptu idea.
(Sibs must have been in fairy land as she never questioned why I was loading the car with a huge box of food...!)
Anyhow, we arrived at the park and she spotted a couple of friends which she was rather pleased about.
Then another friend, then another...
It suddenly twigged - these people were all there for her.
No words, just a huge hug from my grinning girl told me that she was happy.
The best part of the afternoon was that instead of just the children being dropped off, whole families came and stayed.
It was lovely to be able to celebrate a special day with friends. Friends who have made our move to Australia easy. People who I am pleased to have in our lives.
There were no party games, no organised activities, no planned entertainment and do you know what? It worked.
Adults sat and caught up with each other and the kids ran around, climbed trees and kicked a ball.
Neil cooked sausages on the bbq (so Australian - I love it!), there were of bowls of fruit, rice crackers and dips and Birthday cake - easy peasy!
A few hours later the box was re-packed with a few leftovers, the children were gathered up and that was that.
Another year; another party ticked off.