It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’ll cry if I want to….. ok, I know those aren’t the actual lyrics but the good news is if I do cry, I’ll be crying tears of joy. I’m not sad about turning 40 at all – instead, I’m grateful I’ve got this far in life without (touch wood) any major illnesses, reasons to want to commit suicide and so on. Yes, I’ve had setbacks – the worst being losing my mother when she was just 60 years of age after a steady mental and physical decline due to Alzheimer’s – but in a way this has made me more thankful for the life I have today. For me, the spectre of Alzheimer’s will always loom close by as I wonder if I will be struck by the same fate before I turn 50. At the same time, however, the birth of my third child just over seven weeks ago has made me more determined than ever to be happy and healthy in order to furnish my children with happy memories of their childhood and to very much live in the moment.
Just before I turned 30 I hinted to my boyfriend (now husband) that I fancied spending my birthday by the sea. In other words, a weekend away abroad or indeed in the UK in a lovely hotel being spoilt rotten. In reality, he kindly drove me to Bournemouth for the day. It was cold. It rained. He treated me to chips. I have to admit I was a bit peeved at the time (and for the next few years afterwards).
Now, as I am about to turn 40, I have reassured my husband on numerous occasions that there is no need to organise a huge surprise party or buy me a ridiculously expensive present. The difference between 10 years ago and now is vast. Today I have everything I could ever want – a wonderful, caring, funny, gorgeous husband; an eldest daughter who is also caring and kind, intelligent and sensitive; a middle daughter who is hilarious, bright, creative and assertive and a little son (more on him later) who right now seems pretty chilled and happy to be cuddled by anyone who’ll hold him. I have a supportive family who rally round when I need them but stay out of my face when I don’t. And a carefully curated selection of girlfriends, most of whom I’ve known for over ten years, who are sparky, clever, funny, strong and kind.
In a surprise twist of fate, I’ve also become part of a #mumsquad since moving to the suburbs of Surrey. A bunch of women who go above and beyond to provide friendship, reassurance and support. Friends who are available at the drop of a hat if they are needed. People who, when I decide at the last minute to celebrate the last night of being in my 30s, all make childcare arrangements so they can join me for a glass of champagne at the local pub tonight.
So tomorrow, I’ve briefed the kids to provide me with breakfast in bed. I’ve booked a table at Pizza Express for lunch with my kids, husband, father and aunty and uncle – all the people I love most in the world (apart from my big sis who will be in Paris for part of her own birthday celebrations). I’ve booked a table at a fancy restaurant for dinner with my husband in the evening. All in all, I’ve planned a perfect day in the realisations that only I would know what my perfect day would really be. And tomorrow I’ll be smiling all day.
Happy 40th to me 🙂