We set the alarm for 6 a.m. It was more than a two hour drive to Bedford and we needed to get there early to help.
At 8 a.m. I woke with a start. We flew round the house, threw three puddings, a joint of pork, a pasta salad, five children and various jackets (NOT TOO CLOSE TO THE FOOD PLEASE) into the car.
ED was not too pleased because she had to leave with half wet hair.
No-one could decide whether it was hot or cold on the journey, so the windows flew up and down like there was no tomorrow, causing enormous angst amongst young girls who wanted their hair just so, and angst amongst boys who wanted the temperature just so.
Well actually the angst was only between one boy and one girl, ED and ESOS, who, to deliberately understate, could be said to not always be the best of friends.
It was a fraught morning. Hubby took a wrong turning, which as it turned out was a right turning, because we had to do a pit stop for fuel, and had we taken the proper route there were no pit stops available.
We had planned to arrive at 10. We arrived at 11.45, just three quarters of an hour before the big moment.
As she walked round the corner, I suddenly felt very emotional.
The party was full of old friends. People I hadn't seen for twenty, thirty and in some cases almost forty years.
Age is a very strange phenomenon, because the ageing process affects people so differently. Once the initial moment was over for instance, my own mother was drinking plenty of wine, socialising, and enjoying herself just as she always does. As the only 80 year old tap dancer that I know, she still knows how to party like an average thirty year old. Being an afternoon garden party, not many were dancing, by my parents did of course when my niece sang, because they have always danced and always will. In fact the atmosphere probably wasn't much different to a party held for a thirty year old.
Many of my parents' friends are similar socialites, and are young for their age. One or two are less young now however, and I think that one lady had completely forgotten that my parents had ever had a daughter. She certainly didn't remember ever having met me, despite my being able to recount a visit to their house as a child.
As the afternoon wore on I remembered a phrase that my father said many years ago. My father often comes up with little sayings that are worth quoting. Many of them funny and often very sage. In this particular case it was: "People don't change with the years. They just get older." Which, for the all the while that we still have our wits about us, is so very true.
And later, as I lay in bed, waiting for the events of the day to mix with my dreams I started recalling snippets of conversations from the day. As I remembered the conversations, I remembered the people who were talking to me.
In my memories though, these people were not in their seventies and eighties. They were all as I remembered them as a child. I could hear them saying the words that they said at the party, but, no matter how hard I tried, I could only see them as I would have seen them twenty or thirty years ago.
Hubby has often said that he would like to do away with cameras, and my father has always said that the memories of the mind are the best. Our own camera made it out of the house in the morning, but seemed to like the new car, so decided to sit in it all afternoon. So, we will have to wait until someone emails us a picture before I can share the day pictorially with you all.
But in the meantime......
Happy birthday to my beautiful and brilliant tap dancing mother.
(Photos added with thanks to my eldest brother, who read my blog and sent them through! My Mum is the one in the black and white dress!)
Sally's writing is about being a mother of five, now all too grown up, children, (four girls, one boy) a husband, a dog, and a serious ambition to be a mortgage free and famous actress, voice over artist, broadcaster, writer and teacher.
The "Cast" List for the blog includes:
Hubby - Her husband,
ED - Eldest Daughter,
ESOS - Eldest son only son,
Sensible - Second daughter,
Gymnast - Third daughter,
Tinkerbell Mushroom - Youngest daughter and youngest child,
Mad Dog - AKA Lucy - the border collie.
Guest appearances by MIL (mother in law), parents, two brothers, inlaws, nephews, nieces and great nephew.