It was, I admit, entirely my choice, so I have nobody to blame but myself.
Birthdays are either big deals or simply pass us by, and for me, it’s a big deal.
Mine was last Tuesday, another year older, another wrinkle earned.
We’d already booked a holiday to the Lake District so whatever happened, I could at least take comfort in knowing I wouldn’t be sat in front of a computer screen, typing away until my fingers were nearly numb.
The day before my birthday was glorious. We woke to beautiful sunshine, sat on the small patio overlooking the stream that babbled past our front window, and sipped hot mugs of tea as we watched the sheep graze in the field opposite.
We dined in the sunshine, tucking into toast and planned our day ahead.
After some serious uphill walking, we reached the top of Catbells, which has the most incredible views of Derwent Water. Having conquered that, we carried on and hiked higher still.
That evening, empowered by a sense of achievement, a healthy dose of sunshine, fresh air and plenty of local beer, I decided I wanted more of the same for my birthday.
Instead, we woke to buckets of rain, with thick mist, a drop in temperature and no sun for good measure.
Admittedly, I could have called the whole walking thing off and insisted we spend a day at the nearby hotel, indulging in a spot of swimming, a massage, a couple of hours reading and then enjoying a champagne afternoon tea.
But we battled on, up a short but steep climb to Loughrigg Fell and views of not much at all, although we knew Lake Windermere was out there somewhere.
Just as I was beginning to feel sorry for myself, the mist began to lift and just before lunch we came across this little gem – Loughrigg Tarn.
It was the most idyllic spot, quiet, serene and where sheep outnumbered humans by about 100-1.
I soon forgot about my wet coat, the cold and my aching thighs and soaked up the scenery. Some things can’t be gift wrapped.
I know I’m a day late but the joy of mums is that they will always forgive you (well, mostly).
So belated Happy Mother’s Day to mine. I just wanted to say:
Thank you for all the times you picked me up when I fell over, and made it better with a hug and a kiss;
Thank you for all the times you made it fun, even when we went on a camping holiday and I found out years later we’d only been half an hour down the road in Tenterden;
Thank you for feeding me, even when you hid liver in the spaghetti bolognaise and made be a beautiful birthday cake of a cottage, which leant over like the Tower of Pisa.
Thank you for not saying I told you so when my heart was broken by another one I thought was The One and yet you always knew would never be.
Thank you for still treating me like a teenager, and making sure I give you three rings when I get home just so you know I’m safe.
Thank you for making me laugh and giving me such happy memories with you, dad, and even my brother.
Just thank you for being you.