This weekend Lily had her eighth birthday. She'd been counting the days since the Christmas decorations came down.
Some weeks ago, I struck up conversation about her birthday, asking her what she might like to do. Her response was 'I'd like a birthday surprise'. Good. I like arranging surprises. She'd also muttered something about quite liking the idea of a party, but reluctantly felt that, at eight, she would be rather too old for that sort of thing.
Anyway, needless to say I started scheming, plotting and planning. The result of which was the most wonderful surprise. A total surprise. I invited 8 of her closest girl-friends, a mix of life-long and newer friends, over for lunch without Lily knowing.
I made pizza's - plenty of them and served Birthday cake and ice-cream for pudding (for those interested, her cake this year was a Rose & Almond Cake - really delicious with a taste that reminded me of Battenburg cake).
I made each guest (Arthur had a boy-ish variation) a crepe paper flower tiara (as seen on Oh Happy Day), and dressed the table with place names, grown up cutlery & china and jam jars full of fresh spring flowers. It could have been a wedding reception! Needless to say 'the look' and the crazy effort that went into it wasn't lost on a bunch of eight year-old girl's - they simply loved it!
While I was busy setting everything up, David had taken Lily to work for an hour, by the time she came home all her guests were ready, waiting and hiding behind the sofa ready to jump out and 'Surprise!' her. Lily's face was a picture. She stood speechless, beaming ear to ear, then after a moment or two very calmly and matter-of-factly said 'Hello'.
After Pizza, cake and a play each guest left with their pretty hair piece and a party bag and Lily sat down and drew breath.
On Sunday, her actual birthday, we had a day at home (plans to go out were cancelled due to the bad weather), Her uncle, aunt and cousin came over (another surprise) and we had a 'Lily style lunch' of Pesto Pasta and Chocolate Brownies.
A perfect weekend for the perfect little girl.