When I was much younger, 30 seemed so old and 40 was simply ancient! I turned 40 on the 4th of November and I don’t feel much different from when I was 25! 40 doesn’t seem so old after all.
As it’s such a milestone, I did suspect that Mo Cushla would have a few surprises up his sleeve but little did I know how very surprised I would be.
I think it was sometime in May or June, he asked me to give him a guest list for a party for my birthday. I didn’t get round to giving it to him till a few weeks ago. Since I was expecting a surprise party, I decided to get an outfit. I did wonder how I would know when to wear the outfit if I didn’t know when the party was actually going to take place! I didn’t let that deter me though.
Exactly 40 days to my birthday, on the 26th of September, as I was going to take a shower, I opened the airing cupboard to grab my towel and there were about 6 or 7 bottles of my Dove shower gel and one bottle of my face wash lined up nicely on one of the shelves. Mo Cushla had bought them. Over the next few days and weeks, thoughtful and practical gifts kept popping up in different places. I don’t remember the particular order they came in but I will list them and tell how I discovered them.
Pink fluffy house slippers – My old ones were rather tatty and I had been planning to throw them out and replace them. I came downstairs one evening, just after he’d got home from work, and they were at the foot of the stairs, just waiting for me to slip my feet in them.
Perfume – I woke up one morning to find a bottle of perfume wrapped nicely in gold wrapping paper with a bow stuck on it on my dresser. I unwrapped it to find a bottle of Escape by Calvin Klein.
Towel set – Another day, he handed me a large bag which had a lovely fluffly blue towel set in it.
Lingerie – We went to M&S one evening to get some school trousers for WEO. Mo Cushla asked me to also get some lingerie. I got a few sets and had to take the boys to the toilet so handed him what I’d picked out. When we got back he’d paid for them so we went home. Later, when I unpacked the bag, I noticed he’d added several more sets which he’d chosen himself, and I must add, he has excellent taste!
Amazon vouchers – One day, I got an email from amazon.co.uk informing me that Mo Cushla had got me vouchers worth £25.00 . He said it had been a while since he got me any books so I could use the vouchers to do just that.
Framed photograph – I came down to the kitchen one morning and on the work top was a frame with two black and white photographs in it. One was of him and the boys and the other of me and the boys. He’d also put up a frame holder on one of the living room walls for it so all I had to was hang it up.
A pair of earrings, large bottles of Bio-oil, MAC foundation (the right colour), a hand-held hair dryer and a lottery ticket (this one was for the Euromillions the week when it was £130m rollover) were some other gifts he showered me with.
He revealed on my actual birthday that he had intended to give me 40 gifts, one each day in the countdown to the day. He fell short but still intends to complete the list which includes a charm Bracelet, clutch bag, wristwatch, pair of jeans, winter coat, belt, pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, scarf/pashmina, leather gloves, pair of sun glasses and a Ralph Tee shirt.
Mo Cushla leaves so early for work, the boys and I are usually still sleeping. My birthday was no exception. However I came downstairs to find a lovely bouquet of flowers (gerberas and lillies which were the flowers I had at our wedding) and some greeting cards.
I got on with business as usual; dropped the boys off at their respective schools, taught a class and then went shopping for aforementioned outfit. Some friends had said they would stop by so I got home and waited for them.
Just after 2.00pm, Mo Cushla walked in with a massive cake. I was so pleased to see him as I wasn’t expecting him home so early. He also handed me what looked like a restaurant menu (see photos below).
Below is what I found in the ‘menu’;
So it’s your Birthday you are the Big 4 – 0
Very many congratulations!! I pray God Continues to bless you, keep you, prosper you and elevate you to greater things over the next 40 years, in the name of Jesus.
I have agonized for very many months over what to give you. I have involved family, friends, people at work and in some cases total strangers, and I’m still none the wiser…
Hopefully, you would have enjoyed the little gifts you’ve received over the last 40 days, even though they fell short of the intended 40 presents, it was all meant to be a discrete countdown to today. (By the way I will complete the list but I need your input…)
So, on to today, I know you would have loved a good party, and I would have loved to throw one for you, but the truth is… I can’t afford to, (at least not right now).
However, as an alternative and in recognition of this milestone in your life, I have put together what I hope will be a fun activity filled year, a year that will create lasting memories in celebration of Nkem,
Fabulous @ 40!
A restaurant has been booked for you and 10 of your nearest and dearest friends, (unfortunately I’m not brave enough to make the choice out of the 100 names you gave me), So I’ll leave that honour to you.
25/29 Church Road
Date: At Your Pleasure
Main Course – 2011
Seeing as you love to travel, and with your penchant for the exotic, Feel free to select an all expense paid, two-week holiday destination of your choice.
Side Platter – 2011
Seasonal Weekends Away
- A Winter’s escape
- A Weekend jump into Spring
- A Summer trip to cool off
- A fall back Autumn get away
The chef’s special blend of Bavarian treats.
A contemporary Germanic classic, offering complete satisfaction without the usual bourgeois fare. Alongside nostalgia and multisensory appeal, Germanys’ finest Chefs, have spared no expense in creating an all-in-one culinary masterpiece. This has been curated with the single task of stimulating dopamine and endorphin receptors based on information specific to you.
As with all fine foods this treat has been packaged in a reusable bespoke designer outer metallic case, trimmed in leather, all designed for your personal pleasure aptly Christened, ‘N40kem’
December TBA – FELA The Musical
January 8th 2011 – Cirque Du Soleil, Royal Albert Hall
February – December (We get to do something special every month)
I read all of it and was still beaming from ear to ear when he took me outside to the drive and apologised for not throwing me a party. I reassured him it was ok, at which point he pointed to a car parked in front of a neighbour’s garage. I looked at it then looked away till I heard my friends yelling in the background so I looked at the car again.
Apparently it was for me! It had a personalised number plate with my name on it! I stood rooted to the spot in complete shock with my jaw on the floor. What a lovely surprise! I had been happy enough with my two-week all expense paid holiday and all the other bits only to get this.
I am so thankful to my wonderful husband for his thoughtfulness and all the care he put into ensuring my 40th birthday is one I’ll remember always. Thanks, Babes.
I am also very grateful to all my friends and family for all the birthday wishes sent by email, phone, text, Facebook and in person. Thank you all for enriching my life so much.