Papa simply wished to celebrate the birthday of his grand daughters. That was his plan for his trip to UK 2 years ago. He also harbored a secret desire to make a trip to the London Natural History Museum. He had plans to return in March 2020 after Chiyaa's birthday celebration in February. The day her birthday party was held, he said the words "What a great celebration! Now time for return " But! Man proposes God disposes eh? Come March and we know what hit the world :D All plans cancelled, including the tickets for London. Everything in the back burner and Papa and Mummy were slated to be here for a long run.
My sister teased them on the day the tickets were cancelled that, "Ah! you are going to stay for your birthdays too" Papa and Mummy have their birthdays in July. Sitting in April, July seemed a faraway time. Mummy was confident they would travel by the end of May when her tickets were scheduled. Well, everything was up in the air wasnt it. Including sweepstakes happening at work where people were betting on when we might return to work place.
April went and with it May. Things were a bit better in June but the lockdown was not going anywhere. Till the PM of Britain gave the news of "non-essential businesses" opening from the 4th of July. On Mummy's birthday! Yay! Not that we were going to do much! But still yay! This was the fourth time Mummy was with me for her birthday, since I got married. (My life after marriage is like a watershed moment for me ;) Its like Before Marriage and After Marriage :D ) She was in the UK one time to take care of Chiyaa since she was keeping very unwell. After that, I managed to be with her one other time, since I was in India for my second maternity leave following the birth of Pumpki. Mummy again managed to be with me when she landed in Ipswich for her birthday, again to support us through the difficult time of K's job hunt. And this! This might be the last time she is around for her birthday, since we do not anticipate our parents coming in that frequently. The kids are growing up, making their own independent worlds. And our parents are aging too. I did not desire to go out and go shopping for a birthday gift for her. But how could I not gift her anything? So, we made something. I made the kids make drawings with acrylic paint on cups. It was very exciting especially for the little one to be engaged in this secret activity. We closed the door to a bedroom and got busy with our work. There was a moment where she had to step outside and had to get some stationery. Mummy happened to come across her and asked her what she was doing. That four year old little one lied through her teeth "We are exercising". Mummy asked where. She said "In mummy and daddy's room" When Mummy asked what exercise she was doing, she convincingly replied " Just normal exercise, press ups".
God that little one is dangerous! I clarified to Mummy that they were making cards in secret. The real special gift was a secret. Since Mummy is an avid walker, I decided to get some walking shoes for her. Now I am an absolute dud when it comes to making cakes. And the kids would not let me live if i did not order a cake on a birthday. But where would I get a cake from given the situation. I scoured the internet and came across some bakers. Some were not offering their services yet, some were super busy, some did not respond. God! I was reaching a road block. I found some online sites. But which one to trust. Finally I took a leap of faith and ordered from a place which guaranteed to send it by the date. Fingers crossed now.
Come her birthday, the kids were super excited. They did not want to wait at all. They ran into her room as soon they woke up and gave her the gifts. The joy on Mummy's face was beyond expression. We had plans for lunch from a takeaway. Once that was on the way, I got the cake. The cake was all right though a bit sweet. I decided to go for the same place for Papa and K's birthday which was 3 days away.
Mummy was very glad at the end of the day since this was first time in ages that her birthday had been celebrated! The last time was a decade ago when her students from college had come in and surprised her. I felt very glad to be able to have her around me.
I remembered that around the same time last year, I was hoping I could have my parents over for summer. Around the May-July time when it is really hot in India and quite pleasant here. But it needed some miracle of sorts to come true. There are no school holidays during that time and my parents would not like to be at home without the grandkids hovering around. They prefer even bearing the bone chilling winter, just because the children are around for Christmas holidays. So having them over for the English spring/summer was a far off dream. But you never know do you?! It was as if God just sat on my shoulder and heard my prayers. I will be eternally grateful to him for facilitating this for our family. Not only were my parents spared the Indian summer, they had the kids around too! Since March. It was a once in a lifetime event. The stars needed serious aligning for this to work.
For this time and also for 7th July. The dual celebration of Papa and K's birthdays! I always bask in the fact that my two favourite men share the same birthday. I had them together for the first time ever. It was also the day when it was 10 years since I arrived in the UK. That morning I had bid a tearful bye to Papa after wishing him a very happy birthday. And in the evening I had landed in UK to wish him a happy birthday. Now in 2020, I was with both of them again, wishing them both a happy birthday. This seriously needed some supreme divine intervention. This was indeed again another once in a lifetime event.
As the day wound to a close, the chapter of birthdays drawing to a finish, all I do was thank my lucky stars.