The nearly 5 year old has a party soon. No prizes for guessing his age. In a celebration of turning 5 and joining Primary 1, we have booked a hall in a local authority centre, big enough to house an entire field of cattle, and the farm to which they belong. I tell my boy - 'It's a one off darling, a special party for a special year. We won't be doing this again.'
My son is pleased, excited and happy to be the same as his friends. This is the norm, it seems, when you are 5 - the entire class and whatever other friends you have accumulated along the way. We have attended many just the same, where tens of preschoolers and primary 1's, dive on bouncy castles and eat party treats from trestle tables overflowing with food. The party bags are the highlight for my boy - gingerbread men, cello wrapped with a smartie bow tie, won't cut it this year. So to the supermarket we go, to the custom built isle where party bag treats are like pick 'n' mix. Turning 5 - it seems - is big business indeed.
But there are photographs, more than a few, in an old plastic bag in my parents loft. Snaps I've handled many times, that I know so well they have reinforced memories which may otherwise have slipped through the net. A girl in one, bobbed and blonde on her mothers knee, blows out candles on a cake adorned with icing and jelly tots. And red hair and curls, a smiling gran - much loved - with me now years later, in the happy memories she has left behind.
My boy will have his big day - this once - king of a bouncy castle and the head of his feast. But another day that week, when he is actually 5 - I'll take photos of my own - my son, my baby and the family that we love, with parcels, candles and a jelly tot cake... x