If bones creaking a little louder and my inability to join my sons in sliding on their knees in celebration wasn’t enough, the card screamed out the message loud and proud.
It was the first one I opened as I turned 37 years old on Monday and it proclaimed ‘Happy Birthday Old Chap’.
Just to emphasise the message, in case it wasn’t clear, the fourth card I opened said exactly the same thing.
Fortunately, I’ve never been one to worry too much about my age – well not for the last decade when my life finally started taking shape.
A happy and healthy family and a job I love, I’m pretty happy with my lot. I also appreciate there will be plenty of people reading this who think 37 is still a babe in arms.
I actually haven’t had time to reflect on me creeping ever closer to 40 as my ‘big day’ was neatly sandwiched in between my youngest’s fourth birthday and my wife’s…..as if I’d get away with revealing her age in these pages!
To say it has been a hectic, not to mention a little expensive, time is an understatement.
My son’s birthday also coincided with organising his very first proper birthday party.
I must admit there were times I wondered what on earth we were doing as the guest list grew and my wife mentioned we needed chocolates for the tables. What next? Favours, a band – was I getting married again?
Then there was the classic turn of events when we hired a full scale Minion to walk around the hall waving and having photos taken. George’s reaction? Fright and trepidation sums it up nicely.
In truth, through all the craziness, tiredness and leftover sandwiches, it was a great success as George spent the last hour going mad on the bouncy castle with his friends – and Dad, of course.
He then gave my wife, his mum, the perfect present on her own birthday a few days later. By waking her up with a kiss and birthday wishes. At 4.45am. Though I did give her the lay-in, you will be glad to read.
Birthdays are a time of reflection, especially when there are three in six days. I will always think back to when George came into our world a little early and we had three impromptu ‘parties’ in the Neonatal Unit at West Suffolk Hospital.
Indeed, that’s where the incredible angels vacated their own staff room for half an hour so Sarah and I could enjoy a birthday meal in a rare moment of solitude. Above and beyond doesn’t come close.
With such kindness on our doorstep, how can anyone really worry about getting another year older?