For as long as I could remember, all of my Birthdays I would say the next day, “It's my Birthday soon” and some people would say, “When is it?” And when I told them the date they would say, “That was yesterday!” because I just loved my Birthdays, except one!
When I had my 29th Birthday I didn't want to be 30!!! I was single and living in an old peoples maisonette! With no Husband and no kids! That was a very difficult year for me! I decided I didn't want to be thirty! It was silly looking back now, for what is a number? But back then it was everything. A woman is called a spinster, what an awful word! A man if they are called a bachelor it's OK it's nothing bad, so what if I looked great for my age, for me it meant nothing!
Each year my best friend Olivia would ask me what she could buy me for my Birthday and I would reply, “What I want you can't buy me” which was a Husband and child. Sometimes I would look in the catalogue and wish I could just choose him from the pages. What would sometimes worry me was, how will I know when I do find Mr Right!?
I remember New Years Eve arrived and I was for the first time alone on that day it WAS a lonely evening. I didn't want to be with family or friends but chose to stay in my flat. I did Auld Lang Syne by myself with my arms crossed moving my hands up and down and tears streaming down my face in front of the TV that was a low time. Then the new year arrived, I thought good riddance to the old year that had just past, but it would soon be my Birthday!!!
I was a Student, it was a lean time for me, SO many other people have their Birthdays the same month as me! So any monies given was used to buy gifts for others!
A month before my dreaded Birthday one day I was in the bedroom and stood before the mirror in the wardrobe and decided enough was enough!!! I thought I must think of why it is OK to be 30 when it arrives. So with tears pouring down my face, I said to myself, “You haven't got cancer, you are not in a wheelchair, you are not in pain, I have a lot to be thankful for” I didn't feel any better but that's life!
On the eve of my Birthday I was going out with two of my friends, Wendy and Olivia it was a long film at the cinema that we were going to watch it was over 3 hours!!! But as I had no money, for at that time, I usually used to buy at the cinema Revels with a large Pepsi and a Magnum. But I had NO money and it was my Birthday tomorrow, when I usually was given lovely things and money, so I made sure I ate and drank and was full before I left the flat.
It was planned that Wendy would pick me up first at 7pm and then we would pick up Olivia. But Wendy arrived late at my flat, I went to the car and said, “You're late, we will miss the start of the film” what's worst than that! Wendy been Wendy just smiled and said, “We're going to pick up Olivia now” I thought. “Oh dear.” Wendy didn't go to Olivia's house but Lillian's house, instead, she said that's where Olivia was, I told Wendy when she arrived at Lillian's house I was staying in the car, for if I came out we would be even more late for the start of the film.
At Lillian's house I did stay in the car, while Wendy went in to let Olivia know we had arrived. Then I looked at Lillian's house for Wendy had called me, I looked and there was a huge banner, It said in HUGE letters, “Happy Birthday Grace” my mouth fell open! I came out of the car in a daze and went inside the house.
“Surprise!” Everyone shouted! They had done a surprise Birthday party for me!!! My Mum had given them photos of me from when I was very small until now and they did “This Is Your Life” My favourite 'foods' were there, including Jaffa Cakes! But I was too full to eat any of it! For I had eaten at home enough food to last me over three hours.
I asked about the film, and was told we would be watching it tomorrow and they would be paying for me to get in, and all I could eat and drink while there!
At midnight we were all still at Lillian's house and it was then my 30th Birthday! They all sang “Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday dear Grace, Happy Birthday to you” They were SO happy for me and I smiled, I was 'OK' then Olivia shouted “Let's sing it again” I had to bite my lip as I smiled and made sure I didn't cry. I was given the Jaffa Cakes to take home, as everyone there knew they were my favourites!
My 30th wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.