Family memories, birthday treats, pony parties – and annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations

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Today is a very special day in our household – it is my eldest child’s seventh birthday.

I remember my mother used to always say to me – and still frequently does: “Oh it only seems like yesterday that I held you in my arms for the first time.”

But it is only since having children myself that I realise just how true this is. And I have to stop myself saying it to my children at intervals too, knowing just how much this may well annoy them.

Last weekend I spent a pleasurable couple of hours reminiscing while the other half diligently took the children to the park. I was meant to be doing the ironing but instead I took all the photos out of the cupboard and passed the time very pleasantly.

It is only when you actually stop to look back at your life like this that you realise just how quickly things have gone. And it really does just seem like yesterday that I was first cradling my eldest daughter just seconds after giving birth to her.

Now she is three-quarters the height of me, with hair halfway down her back and is the most fiercely independent, determined bright little button. And to celebrate all we love about her we fully intend to give her a great birthday. The cake has been ordered the presents wrapped.

But why is it that each year her birthday (and that of her siblings’ too) seems to suddenly arrive? You get a whole year’s warning but despite this there is always a mad rush in the weeks leading up to our children’s birthdays as we realise we haven’t actually planned anything for them to do.

Straight after her birthday party last year the eldest – who had been given riding lessons for her birthday present – told us she wanted a pony party for the next event.

Christmas came and went and still we didn’t get round to organising it – but finally with only three weeks to her birthday we managed to get the party of her dreams organised. And – perfectly – it is to be held at the stables where she learns to ride.

And not only are the stables prepared for her and seven of her friends – most of whom have never been near a pony in their lives – to have riding lessons, they are also doing the catering and providing a special birthday cake complete with a picture of her favourite pony on it.

Now we have a whole year to decide what she will do next year. And I have decided I will most definitely be organised and get it sorted!

When she is older, of course, she will no longer want my involvement in what she is doing. And as her birthday falls on St Patrick’s Day she will no doubt use that fact to go out with her friends.

St Patrick’s Day is great excuse to celebrate and this year is no different here in Sheffield. Already a big white tent has returned to Fargate as part of the city’s annual celebrations.

As well as a plentiful supply of traditional Irish tipples, there will be live music, a barbecue and Irish and Continental food stalls. For more information, visit: