Hello - it's me. My annual birthday self-portrait. My birthday was yesterday, and it was a much nicer day than I imagined it would be. My daughter and a dear friend secretly collaborated to make sure a wee boy had a present for his mum to open in the morning. And there were cards, messages, phone calls, and the sweetest video of a two year old lisping "Happy Birdy to ooo... "
Later, there was a community event at the hall - a Soup and Pudding lunch, and a car wash. It's alway a bit daunting going on my own to a public event, but, oh, how good it was to be among known faces. The kindness and love of this community has helped me so - so much. And thanks to the wonders of Facebook - several people knew it was my birthday too! Warmed by good wishes and a few hugs, I took a bowl of salt meat broth, and found a seat. (James disappeared almost at once, to play with friends.) The chat was pleasant, the food was good. I really had to try the chicken and rice soup too, and then there was dessert - hot puddings with custard, trifles, cheesecake, lemon meringue pie - the table overflowed with delights, and so did we, after filling our plates - maybe even twice?
Later there was the fun of the raffle draw, as we laid out our tickets expectantly - groaning that we were 'so close!' and when one table seemed to win all the prizes. Isn't it always the way?
Then, after stocking up at the baking stall, we headed back home to already darkening skies. I lit a fire and we began to settle in for the evening. After a light tea, and another couple of birthday phone calls, I treated myself to a wee dram of malt whisky, with lots of water, and settled down to watch TV.
So - a lovely day, really. I missed John, a lot, though. He loved community events, and indeed, the last time there was a car wash, he was there, wearing his yellow wellies, helping to organise it. And yet, maybe he organised it all.. I like that thought.
On reflection, the main thing about yesterday was that I was not alone - that I was known, and the small fact of my being in this world was acknowledged. I felt loved, and what better birthday present than that?