He will be eighteen. That's a big age isn't it? I wish I could remember that far back, but I can't. In eighteen years he's gone from this
The celebrations actually started a couple of weeks ago, with the family lunch...the date decided by when Grandma in Cyprus was visiting. The birthday decorations have stayed up, so almost become part of the fixtures and fittings. This weekend he will have a bbq in the garden with friends...a welcome break for all of them from the rigours of revision I hope.
Eighteen years passes so quickly, and it is easy to forget some things. Fortunately there's been a camera at the ready to record most of the most important events. The Cat's Mother and I spent a week in Brighton a few weeks back. It should have been relaxing, but in fact most of my time was spent scanning in original photographs to the computer, so we could create book for him. With diligent (!) editing I managed to get down to just 565 photographs which filled some 150 pages...we used Jessops (not the chain that went bust, but in fact the online photo book service who have served us well in the past). Photo books are a marvellous invention, and the two copies we bought are fabulous...something that we will enjoy looking at regularly.
For a present, I felt that some keepable was the order of the day, so I had a wooden box made especially for him. It is completely handcrafted by Hawthorn Crafts, and has his initials inlaid in the lid. It's quite beautiful. Not so long ago it looked like this
And it finished looking like this
I don't expect a wooden box will mean too much to him at the moment, but I hope in time he will come to treasure it. Of course, I couldn't let it go at that, so I asked the very fabulous Scarlet Blue to come to my aid. I gave her a list of eighteen things you can do when you are eighteen (OK, some you might be able to do before that, but I couldn't let that get in the way of things) and she wrote eighteen envelopes, each of which has inside some money to enable the thing to be done. Each one is sealed with wax and has been placed inside the box. For some I had to be a little creative...so when he votes for the first time, I've given him the taxi fare, and there's money for a sandwich after he gives blood for the first time. The one I'm most pleased with is the money to buy a round. Mine's a pint, please...
And this is how it looks
Of course, it wasn't without pain...I managed to drip burning wax onto my finger, and it remains blistered. Ouch.
So, Happy Birthday, Fred. It's been quite a journey over the last eighteen years, and I hope the next eighteen brings you everything you dream of and aspire to.
Eighteen years in one picture (click to see what I mean)