Roots to Ground Us and Wings to Help Us Fly {Chapter 6}

We make birthdays important.

It doesn’t matter our age; we make it important..

We spend hours decoration and wrapping and blowing up balloons and we wait at the top of the

stairs until we are allowed down to count our presents and make chocolate croissants and

chocolate milk.

We sing happy birthday off key, even though we can actually sing, and we play the same party games

and get a little too competitive but it’s okay because we all win in the end.

We walk the same path and explore the same woods and climb the same trees we have been

climbing since we were seven.

Some birthdays are quieter and spent at the beach, in the sea, collecting shells and exploring rocks.

Some are quiet in other ways, and we make beds on the sofa and wear onesies and watch films

instead of doing something huge.

We begin to have to make two different cakes, one with dairy, one without

and mum hand-makes them with unicorns and cars and writing and anything else her mind can dream up.

We become nurses and pirates and Mr Men and Hobbits and run spas for our little sisters as they

turn four and five and six and seven.

We turn eight, nine, ten, and then suddenly, without us knowing, eighteen creeps up and our brother starts driving

and we’re allowed to drink.

I never do though.

Eighteen creeps up and, as it does, so does something else.

Something unexplained.

Something scary.

Something we will learn to live with.

As we always do.

Mum make eighteen fun, even though I can hardly walk and I’m cold and I can’t control my body.

Dad lights a fire and mum makes cocktails while everyone else drinks cider

and we play Cards Against Humanity and laugh and ignore the seizures and eat popcorn.

It is unplanned.



The celebration of life.

Two lives.


One clinking cider bottles and laughing and making inappropriate jokes.

One curled up in the corner, pretending she isn’t in pain.

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