I don't know where he got the idea for the aeroplane party, but I do know that it was entirely his. "I really, really like a aeroplane cake" he'd say, every time we talked of his birthday. "I really, really want a aeroplane party."
For months, I waited for him to forget. I offered him tractor cakes and dumper truck cakes, and I hinted at pirate parties and building parties and pretended to forget about the party altogether. But this boy would not forget. He really, really wanted an aeroplane cake. He really, really wanted an aeroplane party.
And so the aeroplane party was planned.
The house was strung with paper plane bunting, party passports were made, sky blue jelly was concocted, a giant aeroplane target was painted, party banners were strung, party bag tags were printed and party bag gifts were bought. Balloons were blown, biscuits were iced, a giant aeroplane cake was created. For a week I awoke to the thought of nothing but aeroplanes by day, and when I slept at night paper planes flew about my dreams.
And then, on the morning of the party, we awoke to thick snow. It lay a foot deep on the branches and glistened on the untouched road. It smothered the cars and buried the daffodils and for a few miserable hours I thought all the effort was for nothing.
But despite my fears, they came. Slipping down the lanes, with shovels in their cars, sliding carefully up the drive and stamping their boots at the door. Little girls in welly boots and party dresses, and little boys in snow boots and hats. Friends with snowflakes in their hair and relief in their shivery smiles.
And as the house filled with friends, presents were ripped open, food was consumed and laughter tickled the aeroplanes hanging from the ceiling, I was so very glad I made the effort.
Because friends who come out in thick snow to be with me and my boy on his birthday deserve an aeroplane party. They deserve little aeroplane biscuits and party passports and all the aeroplane cake they can eat.
And the boy who wanted the aeroplane party so very badly for so much time? Well, he deserves it all and so much more besides. And his shy little smiles made every minute spent folding paper planes and icing aeroplane biscuits far more than worthwhile.