I always feel a sense of rush at this time of year. As darkness creeps up earlier each day, there’s usually a lengthening list of stuff I am not quite getting round to. I think it’s the effect of both Child One and Child Two having autumn/winter birthdays, and as soon as they are out of the way, the festive juggernaut of Christmas is bearing down upon us.
For years, the children’s birthdays meant big parties and, most important of all, party bags. For some reason, these involved a lot of complicated specifications and there was always a solemn moment when the stuff had been acquired, the bags needed filling, and we all sat down and tested all the different sweeties, ‘just in case they are poisoned.’ It was responsible work – no host wants to harm their guests, after all – and anything left after the lengthy sampling procedure trickled into the swag bags.
Parties are very different, nowadays, and the children’s only real stipulation is that I am not at them. Absolutely fair enough, and I would rather die than live through another teenage party anyway, thanks. But I must admit that I was rather thrilled when Child Two said she would like a (sedate) party at home this time.
My first question? ‘Will there be party bags?’. Child Two smiled. ‘Oh, all right then,’ she said. And we both smiled.