One thing you don't realize as a kid is that every time your birthday comes around, your parents remember back to that long night or day however many years ago, when you arrived and their lives changed forever.
It was my eldest's fourth birthday the other week. We decided to forgo all party shenanigans and just have a special day, the four of us. In the morning we gave him his present, all wrapped up except for the underneath part -well how do you wrap a bike anyway? He spotted the opening straight away and dived underneath. He came out grinning "A bike!" The most original way to open a present yet.
He was so excited with his new wheels, and his little brother was pretty pleased with his hand-me-down balance bike too. They wanted to spend all day zooming around the tennis court. Eventually we managed to persuade them that it would be fun to go to the zoo.
I have mixed feelings about zoos but I put them away for the day and just enjoyed the magic through the eyes of the kids. As he hopped along holding our hands, our eldest looked up at his daddy and me and said "This is a great invention for my birthday!"
The highlight of the day had to be the gorillas. I saw one of them clutching something to her chest. I'm not normally that observant but something compelled me to keep watching. She held the thing we couldn't see close to her and did a sort of pencil roll over towards the window, right next to where we were standing. Her fierce scowl said it all: no messing with mummy gorilla. Eventually the poor tired gorilla loosened her grip and a teeny-tiny black foot emerged, soon followed by the most achingly cute face of a newborn gorilla.
And I was transformed to the day, four years earlier, when I had held my own baby on my chest the same way mama gorilla was holding her baby now. Um yeah, and I must have got something in my eye then. Ahem. We were so privileged to have got a glimpse.
The gorilla carer and the zoo photographer came up behind us to try and get a good look at the zoo's newest member. They told us that the baby gorilla had been born that very day. "Like me!" exclaimed the birthday boy, his eyes shining. And that just about put the lid on our perfect day.