I love birthdays. My birthday. My wife’s birthday. My son’s birthday. Family birthdays, friends’ birthdays, collegues’ birthdays and (on occasion) complete strangers’ birthdays, I love them all.
There’s a convention that, as an adult, you are should not enjoy birthdays as much as you do as a child. To my mind, this is arrant nonsense. What other day in the year can you control what is going on around you to the same extent as you can on your birthday? Heck, I have been to work on my birthday twice as an adult. As a child, on roughly 75% of birthdays, I had to go to school.
Going to school on your birthday was awful. Not only did alleged friends regard it as an excuse to throw you into the air a set number of times (something which I am sure was far worse for girls than boys), but at my school birthdays were treated as an excuse to throw eggs at you, try and ignite you with a Bunsen burner or throw you into the pond (no, I have no idea why my school had something as violent bully friendly as a pond, either).
Those of you who have been paying attention will remember that I woke up on the morning of my 13th birthday in hospital, having broken my arm rather badly a few days before. After breakfast, my parents arrived with my birthday present. With sublime timing, I had asked for a digital watch – which I then had to wear on the ‘wrong’ wrist for three months because the other one was in plaster.
After which, they left me, hoping that I would be allowed to leave hospital at lunchtime.
The reason for this? That day was also the day that my brother and youngest sister were adopted. The rest of the family trooped off to a court so that the adoption could be approved. I gather that this was something of a formality and that there may even have been sweets for the junior members of the party. Most of them then left to go to for a lunch at our local pub, the Rugby Tavern, which even a decade later was regarded as one of the best dining spots in Leamington.
Mum and Dad, on the other hand, had to come back to the hospital to collect me. Fortunately, I was discharged (I have no idea how much arm twisting – pardon the phrase – this took) and could join not only the lunch party, but the big celebration that evening (at which I sat in the corner and held court whilst others partied around me).
I don’t care that Lisa and Kevin are adopted. To me, they are as much my siblings as if they had been born into the family and you will never be able to tell me otherwise. And instead of remembering the day that they came home from the hospital as my new brother and sister, I have an even better memory – the day that I came home from the hospital and had a new brother and sister.
That day was thirty years ago today. It will always be my favourite birthday. Happy anniversary, Lisa and Kevin.