Imagine being alive for 32,850 days. That’s a lot of days, a lot of memories, and one heck of an adventure!
My Grandad turned 90-years old back in May. It’s hard to fathom just how many things he must have been through in his lifetime, he was a young boy during the Second World War for one and he was in his teens when the NHS was formed too.
More personally, this guy was in the army, he married my Nan, raised two daughters, was a huge part of my upbringing, and then my brother too. He kept my Nan alive by assisting with home dialysis and has even got to welcome three Great-Granddaughters to his family.
Grandad didn’t want to celebrate his birthday, in fact, I think he would have happily forgotten about it if we let him. I guess when you celebrate 89 birthdays in your lifetime, they can get a bit samey and of course it’s a reminder of being another year older.
After everything that has happened to our family this year, I felt a huge amount of pressure to make sure that my Grandad didn’t just skip over that big birthday. He deserved to be treated and shown how much we all love him. Getting to 90 years of age and being as spritely as he is, is certainly something to celebrate!
Grandad’s birthday fell on a school day, so Hubby and I took our girls to school, headed into our local town to pick up a “90” balloon, got absolutely drenched by the rain, and then hopped in the car to head back to Essex.
We had originally planned to grab some fish and chips to eat at Grandad’s house. But on the way, I wondered if he’d be comfortable eating out in a restaurant. We used to go to a Toby Carvery with him and I thought that might be a nice way to celebrate his special day.
Grandad definitely seemed a little quiet when we first arrived but we soon got him in the birthday spirit with the balloon and gift. I’d spent ages creating a photo book for him, every photo featured my Grandad in and he absolutely loved it! Whilst we were there he had some beautiful flowers arrive from my mother-in-law too.
Grandad agreed that he’d like to head out for some lunch, so I quickly booked us a table and we treated him to a Toby Carvery. This was actually Grandad’s first time in a restaurant since the pandemic hit so it felt even more special to be doing that with him. It was quite glorious to eat a meal without interruptions from small humans and enjoy my Grandad and Hubby’s company.
It was a short visit really as we had to scoot off for the afternoon school run. Grandad said he felt much happier and was so glad we spent time with him on his birthday. I am grateful for that time and knowing we helped celebrate his 90th birthday on his actual birthday.
The celebrations didn’t finish there though. Restrictions had eased a few weeks before Grandad’s birthday, meaning we could host up to 30 people in the garden. Of course, I wasn’t about to through a massive birthday bash but decided to organise a little family gathering in my garden.
This was my first time hosting something of this size. I wanted to get it all right, for it to be the perfect day. I’d researched the best buffet foods, how to create little wrap pinwheels and how to create a beautiful picnic party. I definitely could have hired someone to cater the food but it was cheaper and more personal if I did it myself.
So the party food prep began the night before and was finished just as guests started to arrive. I even made homemade Apple Crumble cupcakes – highly recommend!
We were blessed with glorious sunshine. It was probably a little too warm for the morning time as our garden only gets shaded around the early afternoon. The girls helped me set out our chairs and a picnic blanket (one day I’ll have a nice garden furniture set). Hubby sorted out the pool to fill up for the girls.
It was wonderful to have snuggles with my little niece, to catch up with my God Father and my Great-Aunt (my Nan’s sister). My Nan’s sister sounds so similar to my Nan so that always brings lots of comforts. The girls enjoyed playing fetch with Millie.
It was certainly the morning and afternoon that I’d hoped for. It was chilled out and it was about catching up with family rather than doing lots of different things. The one thing I did want to do was for there to be some biscuit decorating.
I have a beautiful friend who bakes the most incredible cakes, cupcakes, and biscuits. We ordered some of her DIY Biscuit Decorating kits at Easter and these would be the perfect addition to our party. Sarah Hunter Cakes created the biscuits to be in a gardening theme for my Grandad – who has always loved his garden. It gave us all something fun to do.
I truly hope that my Grandad knows how important he is to everyone he knows. Especially to me! He’s been my father figure, my hero, and my protector. I couldn’t have asked for a better man at the heart of our family.
Somehow I managed to be left with these giant number balloons, which even after a month, are still almost inflated and getting in the way.
As soon as all of our guests left, I burst into tears. In that moment of peace, after organising the event, food prepping, and hosting, it almost felt like the adrenaline rushed away from my body and I was left feeling completely overwhelmed and drained.
There was one person missing on our family day – my Mum. The photo below really shows that as there is a gap between my brother and my Auntie, a gap that my Mum should be in.