I LOVE birthdays. I dont care if its mine, my best friends, my kids teacher or even if it is Nelson Mandela’s birthday (and he has had a heap). To me a birthday is a cause for a celebration be it a quiet family meal with the ones you love or a HUGE skop with all your mates.

A birthday starts with the birthday girl or boy waking-up, this normal day to day staple gains special proportions on your birthday – that delicious feeling that the gods of happiness will shine down on you and things will be right – if not for just one day.

In our household birthdays = breakfast in bed, and if it is a school day it is early. You lie in bed listening to all the scurring and arguing going on downstairs working out how you are going to compose your face when you supposidly wake up to a surprise!!!!! breakfast.

No Rosie dont do this, or

Jamie I WANT to carry the tray

Then the family klomp up the stairs and you pretend to be asleep


You slowly open you eyes – look bewildered – give a stretch and check out the offerings swimming in a pool of coffee on a tray – this year it was 3 peices of toast with the letters M O M cut out in cheese on them. You eat the brekkie then it is present time.

Each person proudly presents their prezzie and most important their hand made card.

YOU NOW OFFICIALLY KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED, and the day can only go better and better form here.

The phone rings, surprise coffees with girlfriends, loads of SMS’s, emails and waves from cars, the village notice board has HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANYA (I kid you not) on it, my Facebook mates wish me and all in all life is good normally cumulating in an evening out and if I am very lucky a party on the weekend – I LOVE BIRTHDAYS.

But what if…………what if your birthday came and went and nothing happened………no body called …….. just nothing

During the past week I have been involved in 3 birthday celebrations, one I helped organise (actually this person had two celebrations – will get to it, one I was invited to and the other is quietly going to happen.

The first one/two was for a teacher – as I have said before these mystical humans sort of morph into our lives but we dont know really who they are or what they are all about, we rely on the accuracy of children – yeh well………….say no more. Now kids love birthdays, they dont care if it is their birthday or not they just love the whole cake prezzie thing. The teacher whose birthday it was hasn’t got a home class and normally goes from class to class teaching a subject, these teacher birthdays almost always get forgotten (note to self – find out when the wandering teachers birthdays are) why do we forget them? well home class teachers normally give a list out at the beginning of the year with the whole classes birthday list on them and normally they list their own name on the calender – roaming teachers don’t get this chance. So firstly Rosies Class organise her a cake on Thursday (her birthday is on Friday). Now you must understand the kids lose their brains when their schedule is blown. They hide in the freezing cold to warn the other kids when the teacher arrives – then when she arrives in the classroom they all jump up and go SURPRISE!!!!!! Oh the joys.

On Friday (her actual birthday) Jamies lot have a prezzie – but she is not scheduled to see them on Friday – so their home teacher goes over and asks birthday teacher if she will watch Jamies class whilst she goes to the office (this is not a fun job), these excited kids (bulls) then turn off the light (it is day time) – and when she walks in they all go SURPRISE!!!!! – I wonder how she composes her face before the time????


Birthday number two is a more formal affair – it is a friends daughters 21st birthday – invites have been sent out, menus discussed and rediscussed, glasses hired, music chosen, decorations decided on, rsvp’s collected, outfits bought, nerves frazzled, family flown in, accommodation arranged and liquor ordered. Speeches are prepared by Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother. The whole family has been working on a PowerPoint presentation to celebrate the birthday girls life. A song has been composed for this special girl/woman.

The party itself is a very special, warm and during the speeches a couple of tears are shed. 60 guests are treated to celebration of Nikki’s pre-21 life, and we send her off for the rest of her adult life.


The 3rd birthday is a little girl whose father died in the Zimbabwe struggle (specifics unknown), her mom is stuck in the country because uncle BoB won’t let her out. The intrepid mother managed to get her kids out and send them to Jeffreys Bay to be schooled and live a normal life. Times are hard, money is tight but she is turning 12 – again the class have cooked up a plot to get her a HUGE cake for her birthday – I suppose this is a win-win situation where the kids get to give her something for her birthday but get a lekker stuk koek for their troubles. She has no idea that she will be arriving at school and there is a huge beautifully decorated cake waiting for her.


Gosh I love birthdays.

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