The day after Zachy was born, I celebrated my 36th birthday.
Only with all the excitement of a new baby in the family and as I was still recovering in hospital following an emergency C-section, my big 3-6 took a bit of a backseat that year.
The next year, my baby turned one and that kind of trumped my boring 37.
When he turned 2 and 3, we were on holiday in Crete. I celebrated my 38th birthday on a beach, with a packet of cheese & onion crisps and a diet coke. The Greek God(zilla) took me out for dinner to a gorgeous restaurant later that evening and we loved it so much, we went back there again for my 39th birthday. As nice as they have been, it is probably fair to say that for the past few years, my birthday celebrations have been somewhat low-key affairs.
But 40 is different. Everyone expects you to do something BIG. There is more expectation for you to have a good time on your 40th than there is on New Year’s Eve, which incidentally the Greek God(zilla) and I don’t ‘do’ either.
There was also the small detail that my 40th tied in with my ‘retirement’ and Zachy’s 4th birthday, his last before starting big school.
The date signified more than just entering a new decade for me; it was the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter in all of our lives. One we couldn’t just let go by without raising a glass or two with all the people who have been there with us along the way.
We invited our families and friends of family. Zachy invited his little buddies from nursery, the Greek God(zilla) invited some of his mates from the cricket club, and I invited my Mum friends, work friends, local friends, WI friends and all my besties scattered all over the world!
Obviously, I knew they would not all be able to come but I wanted them to know that I was thinking of them.
I mean, nobody travels thousands of miles to attend a party, do they? Not unless they are Rihanna.
Or my good friend, Dr. Pete, from Canada.
And even then, surely it would have to be for a pretty special occasion, not just for any old party…
Not just for MY birthday…?
Well, yes actually. It appears that they would.
I have no idea how the Greek God(zilla), or any of my other friends in the ‘know’ managed to keep it a secret from me.
One minute I was ushering twelve 4-year olds into the bubble room and the next, there she was.
My friend of twenty years.
We have worked together, lived together, played together.
She has been there through all of the bad haircuts, the truly terrible fashion choices, and a fair few Mr.Wrongs.
She knew me back when I still had clear skin, a size 10 waistline, and wanted to marry Pacey Witter.
She knew me long before I became a wife and a mother, and all the time in between when I worried if I ever would.
Four years ago, she moved overseas with her family and they have been settled in New York for the most part of that.
Then, there she was. Standing in front of me, at my 40th birthday party, to see me into another new era.
I was so excited that I partied like it was 1999. I woke up the next morning, having gone to bed just 3-hours before, looking and feeling every one of my 40-years.
And, I could not have been any happier.