Birthdays aren't quite so important

Out this morning on the field in front of the house for a socially distanced coffee with friends when suddenly the question was asked 'what are we doing for your birthday this year?'  Other friends had asked the same question last Friday and I realised I had no idea.  It's a big one you see and birthdays, even every day ones, have always been important in this family.  Even now Jake, whose birthday is in June, will start planning the celebrations as soon as we head into Boxing Day.  We've always planned surprises for each other and we've always done something special except that since dementia entered our lives we haven't.  Now Ash would hate doing anything exciting or out of routine for his special day and equally he'd find any special celebration of my birthday very stressful so I've begun to put them out of my mind.  A few years ago, before dementia, I had given this one some thought (don't panic, it's not until October) and decided that what I'd really love to do was hire a local country house for the weekend and fill it with friends.  I didn't consider cost which was a good job because, if I'm completely honest, there's no way we would have been able to afford it but I liked the thought.  My mum would be there and almost every dream she's ever had would have been fulfilled by being able to stay in this grand house and sleep in a huge bedroom overlooking the park; we could all get dressed up and pretend that this was how we lived our day to day lives and it would all be rather splendid.  But today when I thought about it I realised that a sumptuous party isn't the be all and end all, that walks and picnics with various groups of friends and a day which doesn't cause Ash any anxiety is all that's really important now and it seems that sometimes what we think we need  is very, very far away from what we really need which is to be surrounded by friends, family and those who love us best.

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