Look, I know it's not even December for another week, but we've just spent our Sunday afternoon at the first Christmas Party of the season!
It's not easy to get 6 families together all on the same day at this time of year. Especially when at least one child from each family has a birthday between 9th November and New Year! So although this is officially a Christmas Party, it began as a celebration of birth 12 years ago.
All of us met because we gave birth within 6 weeks of each other and therefore attended baby classes at the same time. We were new mums together, 'doing battle' with our new lives. We supported each other, shared stories and exchanged advice and now look what has happened! Those tiny wrinkled babies are strapping 12 year olds, the November ones anyway. Then we all had second children around the same time too, between October and January, so they have all grown up together, knowing each other and getting along.
So here we all are, coming to terms with the onset of the teenage years, with the next period of our lives, our childrens lives and we are all doing it together. I'm truly blessed to have been thrown together with all these lovely people, all of whom I would never have met in any other instance. Over time we have laughed, cried, commiserated and moaned together! There's nothing like a good moan between friends!
Small Sprog and Tall Girl have been so excited all weekend that they have almost been unbearable to live with! Every year we meet in the same hall, order a large bouncy castle (did they want one now they're getting older? Of course, it's tradition!!) Light a few fireworks and organise a Secret Santa for them all. We eat pizza and light candles on a joint birthday cake. It's always the same and that's how they like it. The adults make a cauldron of mulled wine, and a huge pot of tea (not at the same time!) and settle down to 'catch up', all the time pondering if this will be the last time all the children will want to come. Will they want to do this at 13, 14? Who'd have thought we'd be doing it this long, all 23 of us, 11 adults and 12 children. An easy togetherness. Who could want for more?
And almost as soon as it's begun it's time to go home! It's the quickest 5 hours of the year. The children leave exhausted and the adults mostly sober! As we say our last good byes someone always says, laughing "One day they'll be pushing us all here in our wheelchairs!" and I hope that we will still meet together then, when we are old and our children have children of their own.