Yesterday was my Happy birthday. I am now 38. I thought I'd be bothered, but I'm not.
It was a good birthday and a not so good birthday.
Good bits included lovely cards, a 3ds game from the boys, a 3ds game from J, money from his parents and a couple of cards from the class.
Not so good bits involved £230 on new tyres after finding a slow puncture which led to finding that the camber on the wheels at the back was wrong and that she'd been running on her inside edge, possibly since we'd had her, and the tyres (which looked in good condition from the outside of the car) had no tread left on the inside of the car. Not good.
We also had the joy of eating out together which is a special kind of torture some days. Because it was my birthday, it was one of those days. AC ate everything going and went back for seconds on the veg, because his children's roast meal was a bit on the small side for him. T-boy took 20mins longer than everyone else and made a fuss about his peas (which he usually eats fine now) and then said his icecream tasted minty. It was vanilla. It tasted of vanilla. Not the rubbish yellow vanilla from the cheap end of tesco that he is used to, nor the Mr Whippy tastes of summer vanilla that he sometimes has, but pure gorgeous creamy vanilla. Ah well. I did my best to over look it. And the chocolate orange cheesecake incident.
After the meal, we popped to the crematorium to 'see' J's grandmother. It was her death-a-versary, as we would refer to it in our home.
We got there. The AC asked why people had places like this. I told him it was the same for them as the forest is for us and Rich.
AC shrunk into me on the way up the path. It all looked very familiar. It wasn't, because this was 150 miles away, but it was a council crem, and they all look a bit the same.
We got in, and J came to stand by me, holding my hand. I can't explain the feeling of suddenly being back there, in the Other Crem, of the emotion that filled my chest and the peculiar fear of being in one of these again. We had a look at flowers for other people. We made the right noises. J's mum, pointed out other people that she knew. I looked to see where she was looking and there were the massive Books Of Remembrance. Well, that did it for the boy child. He had become quieter and quieter and then he came for a cuddle and quietly cried into my Scotty hoodie. J's mum sighed, and we went out.
I shoved my emotions aside and we whispered naughtily down the path about how Rich would have hated to be left in somewhere like this, and that's why we left our him in a forest, next to a massive slide. You cannot be sad either climbing up or coming down that slide. We whispered about how the old ladies that were left there would have plagued him with tales of their arthritis and the best recipe for war time chicken soup. The AC giggled, and offered his own suggestions, and the grief was beaten again.
I won't let grief take all of his childhood. I can't, and I won't. He has to know that there is a silver lining to every cloud, no matter how dark it is. He has to know that sometimes he might have to work on it, but it will be there.
As birthdays go, it was a weird one.
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