No more streamers littering the floor.
No more shining cachous skittering across counters.
The fairies have packed up their bread and departed.
Saggy, flaccid balloons leer lecherously at disemboweled party poppers, as football and pirate cupcake wrappers tango in mismatched pairs.
The Ha_py Bi_th_ay banner smiles a gap-toothed grin at memories of better days, and the disco ball has lost its glow.
Party hats, minus their elastic, linger in labelled boxes at the back of musty cupboards, while donkeys remain forever tailless.
There are no squeals of delight at the first sighting of a present, no saucered eyes as a cake festooned with candles glimmers in the dark.
The chocolate crackles have lost their snap and the honey joys hold no joy.
He’s turned 16, and the trappings of childhood have loosened their grip. Parties are for little kids. I dunno what I want to do.
Three days before his birthday, he invites his friends. No invitations required. I’ll just text them.
‘But what are you going to doooo?’ Just hang out. Relax, you don’t have to organise anything. Just chill. And my heart quivered its sadness.
He hurtles headlong into impending adulthood, and I long for a little more lingering in youth. I revel in the conversations we now have, I adore the sharing of ideas, music, stories. But once in a while, in the quiet moments, my mind wanders back wistfully to those glorious moments of childhood discovery, the delights of a longed for present, the chortling uninhibited laughter of children.