It was old fashioned, the sort of party I remember from my own childhood. Ten girls and one boy came to join in the fun. There was an abundance of sequins and bows and sparkly shoes. They played musical statues and pass-the-parcel. The food consisted of sandwiches (plastic white bread, crusts cut off), crisps, cocktail sausages, cakes. Carrot sticks and grapes to tick the healthy box. I didn't know where to seat thirteen children so we moved the dining room table out of the way and put a disposable tablecloth on the floor and called it an "indoor birthday picnic", which they thought was great fun.
When I asked Bella what kind of cake she would like, she asked for a round, chocolate cake covered in Smarties. Yes, very specific, but I have to say I nearly cried with relief and thought - I can do that! Previous birthday cakes have included a train, a princess castle and a butterfly. (The castle had seven layers of rainbow layered sponge - what was I thinking??). I used my mother-in-law's recipe and made a chocolate buttercream icing. Arranging the Smarties was very soothing, I enjoyed that part enormously. We enjoyed eating it too.
I have to be honest, a part of me did worry that it wasn't enough of a party, not big or fancy enough. One parent asked me what the theme was. I replied that the theme was that is was a sixth birthday party. But when I asked Bella what her favourite part of the day was she said "playing pass-the-parcel". Children are amazingly traditional in their tastes.
Tomorrow is her actual birthday. This time sixth years ago I think I was screaming for an epidural, all thoughts of natural, intervention-free birth long gone. We will open a couple of presents before school - naturally she has chosen those already. After school we will go out for tea; when I asked her where she would like to go she said "McDonalds", quick as a flash.
Bella - Happy Birthday my beautiful girl! You bring us more joy and happiness than you can possibly imagine and we love you to the moon and back.
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments on my last post. My Grandma died last week. It has not quite sunk in yet, and I don't know that it will until I go back home and see my family. She was quite a character and I'd like to tell you more about her one day. We are very sad but taking a lot of comfort from the fact that she lived to be eighty nine and died peacefully with family her side, and there is a lot to be said for that.
On a happier note, hello new followers! It's very nice to have you here and you are most welcome. Thank you as ever for being here and for reading. x