Last Sunday started with my little girl waking up tired, grumpy and excitable all rolled into one. She was shattered because she was up late, owing to the fact that all her family from down south had come up for a weekend visit. She was grumpy because she had had to share a bed with her big brother, who had woken her up with his snoring and farting. And finally she was excited, simply because it was the day of her 5th birthday party.
However, whatever emotional pick-and-mix there was floating around in her head, it felt like nothing compared to the emotional waves I endured that morning. There were elements of dread, excitement, intrigue and black humour, swirling around my mind like clothes in a tumble drier.
It was the first time my little girl was to have a party as a primary school attendee, thus meaning all of her little school friends were going to be there. It was also the first time that my folks, sisters, brother-in-laws and nieces were all able to attend her special day at the same time. And finally, it was the first time my ex had seen my extended family since she got up and left one night 18 months ago.