You have got to love a birthday party. And I have recently discovered that there is nothing like a granddaughter’s first one. Especially when it falls during chemo. To have something so sweet, so good, so perfect to look forward to when feeling utterly dreadful has been wonderful.
My daughter asked me weeks ago if they could come and spend yesterday with us. It was the day before the actual birthday but to have the excuse for a party was delightful. And to know so far in advance that I was getting this opportunity was a treat that got sweeter as the day drew nearer. We settled on mid afternoon as the perfect time slot – opportunity for lazy morning for me, plenty of time for others to get here. It was to be the birthday girl and her parents, my son & his fiancé, my sister & my niece.
I spent all week planning food. Food that I could manage to rustle up that is. Websites were scoured. Recipe books poured over. Relatives consulted. In the end, birthday cake was made by doting aunt and I provided rhubarb & custard lollies (perfect for chemo mouth as it happens!), chocolate dipped strawberries with 100s & 1000s and blueberry & lemon cheesecake fairy cakes.
Balloons were blown up and banners displayed. Presents wrapped and cards written. Food arranged and drinks poured. And then I sat back and watched as the party girl embraced the occasion. It was perfect. She was a total delight.
Of course, like all long anticipated things, it nearly did not happen. My daughter rang earlier in the week to tell me she had just been diagnosed with a contagious skin disease. Cue panic phone calls to chemo team and many tears on my part. After much debate among themselves they decided that as said disease was already being treated, would be covered and was on an adult it was an acceptable risk for me to take in my current immunocompromised state. I had to promise to avoid all physical contact with my daughter and, if anyone else contracted it, to abandon all plans. Frankly I would have agreed to sell a kidney if that would have meant we could go ahead so these stipulations were fine.
Whether it was this or that it was a bright spot in an otherwise grim period that made the afternoon so sweet I do not know. I rather suspect grandchildren’s first birthdays are ever thus.
And in case you were wondering, that photo? Me. On my first birthday. At my Grandma’s house.