As a small business owner it can get very difficult to set aside time for yourself, let alone friends and family, and just when I started getting a better work-life balance last year, we went and got a shop! With a whole new set of challenges I became so focused, almost obsessed, with Anges that my social life was the last thing on my mind - pulling out of friends' weddings, ditching my parents for Durga Puja (it's like Christmas for Bengalis) etc. The lowest point of my self/Anges-obsession was when I didn't make an effort to celebrate my husband's 30th birthday - a milestone everyone should celebrate, whether in grand style or just simply with a small birthday cake.
Why oh WHY did I not at least make a cake for my love on his birthday when I make them for others!!? Aarghhh I hate myself!
The realisation of how important birthdays are hit me like a tonne of bricks last week, leading up to the 8th of June. Why is this date relevant? Other than the fact that it was declared as 'National Best Friends Day' it is also one of my best friend's birthdays - my first friend and house-mate in the UK when I was super fresh off the boat and basically all-round awesome chick. Nina loved a birthday party and had many a birthday in Regent's Park with Pimms, picnics and games of Twister (often in inappropriate clothing!). And there would ALWAYS be cake - sometimes dodgy home-bakes, sometimes good old Caterpillar, but always some form of birthday cake we'd be pigging out on.
Pigging out in a park. We did that a lot. Me, Nina and MindyMugoo.
She sadly passed away at a young age two years ago and it was a difficult and dark phase. Even with some time gone since she left I still feel the pain of her passing. I miss sharing stuff with her I know she'd laugh so much over, or having a friend to whom I could whinge to and who would have me giggling by the end of my whinge. I feel sad that she's not here to see how Anges has grown and I miss her birthday parties too.
In her memory a bunch of us chipped into getting a park bench. When I first went to see the newly installed bench two years ago in a lovely North London park, I felt, I dunno, vacant? Can't explain it. It wasn't great. I guess the wound of her no longer being here was so fresh that I felt like nothing could make it better. With a few years passing however and visiting it more frequently I now love it as I get there all anxious and sad, and leave lighter having spent some time with friends, catching up with each other, remembering Nina and her antics. So on this 8th of June, when she would've turned 31, my friend and I took some cupcakes and big cups of tea, sat on the bench and just nattered as we would if Nina was there, catching up and giggling.
Cupcakes and tea for MindyMugoo and I
I realised how privileged I am to have known her during her short life and to have had such a wonderful friend with whom I have so many happy memories, and also how incredibly lucky I am to have the opportunity to celebrate birthdays. Everyone should really - at the risk of sounding like a Debbie Downer, we don't have that many days to celebrate milestones, so each birthday should be marked as a special occasion and made a deal out of, big or small. And there really aren't many days when you can dig into a whole cake without feeling excessive, so at the very least everyone should have a birthday cake and I'll be getting an awesome one for my love's next birthday, no matter how busy I think I am, to make up for my uselessness last year. I already know he likes this one! Is that forward-thinking or what!? *pats herself on the back*
This week's been emotional and this post made me bawl like a baby. Or maybe it was Charlie Puth's 'See You Again' on the radio. Oh well, the floodgates are open now! I do hope that it inspires you, even in the teeny tiniest ways, for your next birthday celebration.
Lots of love,