Having a birthday that falls on the August Bank Holiday weekend is always guaranteed to be a pretty low-key affair. My friends are nearly always on holiday and the office – when I used to work in one – was usually closed. My sister and my dad both work away from home and often at short notice, so can never make concrete plans. It’s not quite as miserable, but definitely up there with having a birthday on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day – nobody is ever really up for celebrating with you unless it’s a big one! Then I had Zee and he was born the day before my 36th birthday. It was the best birthday present I could ever ask for, however, my birthday has lived in the shadow of his ever since! Of course, I do not begrudge him this attention in any way at all, in fact, to make up for not planning his birthday more considerately at conception, I have insisted all the focus be on him ever since.
We have been in Crete for 4 out of his 8 birthdays, which works brilliantly. We spend a whole day with Zee, eating cake, swimming in the sea and he gets spoilt rotten by all his Greek relatives. Then the next day we visit Lake Kournas and the Greek God(zilla) takes me to my favourite restaurant in Rethymnon for dinner. Last year, we were fortunate enough to also be joined by our sisters and their families, so it felt like one big fat Greek party for a week.
This year, as we would be at home for his birthday, Zee wanted a football party with all his classmates and he wanted it on his actual birthday, none of this birthday in July nonsense that I have tried to pass off on him in previous years. Naturally, with it being the school holidays as well as the bank holiday weekend, all but 5 of his school friends were away. Although, by some stroke of luck all of his cousins were around so the football party could still go ahead. And, as an added bonus, we invited the cousins back for a sleepover!
Now, not many people would fancy being woken up on their birthday at the crack of dawn by 5 over-excited young boys, but it really was a joy! Made more so because my sister also stayed over so we were not outnumbered. More than that, we were expecting 30 people for a BBQ later that afternoon and I needed an extra pair of hands! The plan was that the Greek God(zilla) and my sister’s partner would take all of the boys out for a kick about in the morning so that my sister and I could put the house back together and prepare the food.
Well, what actually happened was that we tidied the beds away and ran the hoover round, but then I took full advantage of having a professional hair and make-up designer in the house and spent the rest of time being pampered. This did mean that we were still rolling the pastry for the spanakopita when the first of our guests started to arrive and hadn’t even made a start on the dips, sides or salads… or even chopped so much as a carrot. But, hey, I looked great!
I put my brother to work on the cocktails – a sure way to make sure no-one realised the food was a tad delayed – and he did a fine job making sure everyone had an Aperol Spritz. Tom Collins or Margarita in hand. Then, I put my dad to work on the carrots, proving there really is no such thing as a free lunch.
Listen, it wasn’t perfect. I forgot about the spuds entirely and the Greek God(zilla) underestimated the number of sausages required, but to be surrounded by so many of my friends and family on my actual birthday was a real treat.
Thank you x