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Day 37: Flaming cake

My father's 81st birthday cake

Family celebrations are always special occasions. Taking the time to honour one another and celebrate is important. It is something we don’t do enough of.

Today we celebrated my father’s 81st birthday. Members of our family congregated at my sister’s house to share a meal and spend time together. My father’s birthday happens to fall on a public holiday, Waitangi Day, so all of us were off work and feeling pretty relaxed – a bonus holiday day!

No birthday celebration would be complete without a birthday cake. We didn’t have the required number of candles on hand but we definitely had enough candles to set the cake alight! By the time all the candles that the kids had placed on the cake were lit and blown out by tata the candles melted so much that they left the top of the cake covered in splodges of red candle wax. It didn’t help that we sang Ljepo Ime (a Croatian birthday song) in between times.

Ljepo ime Mate, Mate,
Bog ga zivio!
Ljepo ime Mate, Mate,
Bog ga zivio!
Mnogo ljeta sretan bio bio
Mnogo ljeta sretan zivio
Mnogo ljeta sretan bio bio
Mnogo ljeta sretan zivio
Zivio Mate!

I have never seen such determined candles. They not only burnt brightly they didn’t seem to want to be blown out either. I took this as sign – tata’s light is still burning strong and bright!

As my parents age I am more aware of how special these times are. In the back of my mind I have a little voice asking “Is this the last time we’ll be doing this?” It highlights to me how every day and every experience matters. Putting things off for another time could mean it will never happen. Relaxed time together is so rare these days as we all rush about trying to get through our days. All of us seem to be constantly chasing the clock and letting it dictate our lives. Why do we have to wait for something awful to happen to remind us of how precious time together is?

Our celebration today was a celebration of family love. We joined together to show our love for a man who is a husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather to us. We celebrated all he has given us in his life and we honoured him at having reached this wonderful age. At the same time we celebrated the love we have for each other. I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful family.

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