Yesterday was my birthday. But this birthday was one to remember, thanks to my beautiful wife. It seemed as if the whole universe conspired to make this a very special occassion.
I woke with U2's "Where the streets have no name" playing in my head. You know the feeling: when you have a particular tune in mind that you know will not let you go for the rest of the day. I didn't think much of it, but realized that I hadn't listened to my favourite band for quite some time. So, I started singing along. The muffled noise subsequently woke Natalie and the two boys, who were not too impressed, but delighted in the opportunity to jump on our bed and sing "Happy Birthday" (well, only Nats and Matt sang, while Nathan tried to join in with some spontaneous vocal harmonies which closely resembled his father's attempt to sing melody).
And then it came out... a big, flat square wrapped in purple and blue paper. And, you could have guessed, it was the book "U2 by U2" - something that I have been looking at for quite some time. While Natalie made some coffee and fed the boys, I followed orders to stay in bed and read my new book. It was bliss.
I had to get up sometime and decided to eat breakfast while watching the "U2 - live at Slane Castle" DVD which had been gathering dust for well over a year. Nathan had his mid-morning nap, while Matt and I jumped around the lounge to "It's a beautiful day" and the like. Natalie popped out to go and "run some erands", unbeknowns to me that she was plotting something for the rest of the day.
In between jumping on couches, swinging from a ceiling fan and behaving like a hooligan - something that comes more naturally to Matt than to me - I answered calls, everybody wishing me well, and reading SMS's and thanking God for dear friends.
Natalie returned, loaded the boys, including me, in the car and drove to her mom's house. Her mom recently got married and is still on honeymoon, so I was made to believe that we were going to braai there, because the we would be able to watch the rugby. Fair enough.
It didn't take long before the gatebell started ringing, announcing the arrival of very dear friends. Natalie planned a party! WOW! First, my brother arrived, bringing me a helmet - so now I can ride (of course when my Vespa is all put back together), Melanie came back from flying and gave me a Jeremy Clarkson book - which I have almost finished reading, John, Olga and baby Lilly surprised me with a '95 Laborie Cabernet and a Toblerone chockie (which I've been craving for about a lifetime) and also Rene, whose voucher I must spend on getting the other Clarkson books.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't about the wonderful gifts, but being surprised by friends and family who wanted to spend this day with me.
We braaied, chatted, played a bit of cricket with Matt and then partook in the most divine feast of salads, meat, breads and conversation. Our meal ended as the rugby started, and what a game it was! Shouting for the Boks was only interrupted by opening our mouths to eat some carrotcake and milktart.
As the sun set, friends and family started making their way home, leaving me with great appreciation and memories to last me another year. Special thanks must go to Natalie, for making this a day to remember.