Some birthdays are painful reminders of the years passing, hurtling you onwards into incipient middle age. But they can be opportunities for three days of pampering and indulgence, the equivalent of a spring makeover, courtesy of the family pulling out all the stops to spoil you rotten!
That is what I got this year and I feel like a new woman, the wrinkles of age banished by a new haircut, a deep tissue massage to sort out the computer-knotted back and a shopping session with my mother to get some flattering new clothes to replace my baggy old winter uniform of fading jeans and cotton rib Gap pullover from twelve years ago. Not to forget my new film star sunglasses discovered in a sale next door to the hairdresser and secured as a pressie by a hurried sms to my husband.
Thus fortified I took the rest of the day off work and drifted around in a leisurely fashion, stopping by the sofa now and then to throw pills and remedies down our flu-struck son, read my book, planted out the lobelia and pansies that the children bought me to replace my unfortunate nasturtiums and had a photo session with a professional photographer (whose services I acquired for life by marrying him), to capture the glamorous new look, before the careful hairdresser blow-dry was lost forever.
The evening saw a flurry of activity in the kitchen as my two sisters-in-law and mother cooked dinner for all the grown-ups and my husband rustled up sausage and mash for the two healthy children. I was surplus to requirements and so took the unusual luxury of a late-afternoon shower to get the compost from under my fingernails and then went and watched Willow with the children while the others finished getting dinner ready. It was delicious too – tender oxtail stew and chicken and mushrooms with an abundance of fresh organic vegetables brought that afternoon from Spier.
And then a whole weekend to recover from being so spoilt and gradually resume my usual household duties, before Monday demanded the juggling act of work, children and cooking once more.
I hesitated to post this, as it sounded like a birthday gloat when I re-read it, but I want to make sure everyone knows how much my birthday spoiling is appreciated, and now reality is back in place again I want to remind myself of how good it felt too!
Our son is almost recovered from the flu now and starting to boss us all around again, which is a sign of return to normal.