Today, Peter Charles Crimp turns 40 years old.
For the eagle-eyed people out there, yes he is a whole 13 years older than me.
However, I act more mature than him.
Today, Pete turns 40.
The big 4-0. A milestone, life begins, mid-life crisis blah blah blah.
For people who follow Pete on twitter or Facebook, He has been counting down the days as though when he reached his birthday, he would spontaneously combust.
I can verify that hasn’t happened.
In fact I am very glad to say that he is still here.
And as a birthday tribute to him, here is a special letter.
As most people know you are notoriously hard to buy for.
And most people know that I am skint from being on Maternity leave.
So with no money and no ideas, I can only give you what I am good at.
No, not that.
My love of writing.
Today you turned 40. An age most people regard as a time where life begins.
I am going to toot my own horn and say that your life began when we started dating nearly 8 years ago. I believe it was re-ignited when we got married two years ago tomorrow, and it was rejuvenated by the birth of your Son in April.
You have been re-born many times.
There was even a time we didn’t know if your life wasn’t going to be going on any longer. The power of hindsight shows us you are much stronger than that and you have come back, almost stronger than ever.
You’ve not embraced turning 40 like I thought you would. You are an eternal optimist, nothing worries you. You put me in my place when negativity takes hold. Yet, you regard yourself as old and past it and ‘for the scrap heap’ for turning 40.
Yes, your back and knee ache. As do mine. Carrying a 20lb baby will do that to ya.
Your tired and lethargic. Guess what, a 5 month old baby will do that to ya too.
This is all superficial.
You don’t look like you are on the brink of your 5th decade and you definitely don’t act it. Doing the dance to the Pussycat Dolls song ‘Don’t wish your girlfriend was hot like me’ has put paid to that.
Your dignity also.
Anyway, I know I am *only* 27 and can’t imagine what it will be like to be 40, but from what I can see its pretty amazing.
You are getting a party, you are getting gifts, you will be ribbed for being ‘old’ but it will be followed up by ‘You don’t look 40’.
Men always grow better with age and you are proof of that. You have gotten married and had a child in your late 30’s; monumental milestones that wouldn’t have worked for you if you were any younger.
So embrace this coming of age, because as they say…Life begins…NOW.
James only sees a Daddy who throws him up in the air and makes him laugh. Not a 40-year-old man.
And aren’t you only as old as the woman you feel?
But you do look too old to be 27.
So, Happy Birthday, My old man.
May you have many wonderful birthdays to come.
All our love, always
Frannie and James
This time of year is always busy with birthdays, anniversaries and then its the rush to Christmas.
This year there is a lot of ‘Big’ birthdays with Pete and my Sister turning 40 and my Nephew, Jack, turns 18 today, 21st September.
I have many Nieces and Nephews and I love them all very, very much and I have a different relationship with each one.
My relationship with Jack is more like Brother and Sister than Auntie and Nephew.
I was there when Jack was born. It was 15.33pm on a warm Tuesday afternoon and I had spent the entire day in the waiting room watching tedious daytime TV ranging from Richard and Judy to Home and Away. Just when the TV was getting interesting with CITV starting, I was told I was an Auntie to a little boy.
Jack Martin Aronne had a mop of black hair and was dinky and wrapped up with what looked like 10 blankets.
He was passed to me and I held the tiny bundle. Time has faded the memory slightly but something must have clicked between Jack and I as I fell completely and utterly in love with that baby.
I was only 9 when he was born. Yet I couldn’t wait to see him and took any chance I could get to go visit him.
As the years went on my love for him never changed.
We were peas in pods.
And like a little brother he could be an annoying little blighter too.
But combined with that was a boy who is such, such fun. We have the same humour and can say something to each other and we will fall about laughing.
We often annoy people with the quotes we have memorised from various shows or sketches. In fact if I was to say to you:
”Were on a bridge chaaaarlie’
You wouldn’t find it funny. Yet me and Jack would pee ourselves.
And that is how we are connected.
We grew up together and like any Brother and Sister we grew fiercely protective of each other.
Jack would be jealous of a boyfriend I had and I in turn would (will) interrogate a girl he would like. In fact Pete has said the person he was most concerned about meeting when we began dating, was Jack.
If we had it my way, Jack wouldn’t be dating until he was at least 35, just like James will do.
Luckily for him he has met the lovely Ria, who I approve of. They are very happy and he treats her like a Princess.
The boy knows how to respect everyone and can talk to his peers as well as his elders.
We have been through some very hard times in his 18 years. Jack personally has had some hurdles to cross but everything he has had to encounter has just made him the wonderful boy he is today.
Not only is he a brilliant, funny boy he is very smart as well. He is Head Boy at Sixth Form and always does well in exams.
I can see Jack’s head getting bigger with all these compliments.
But above all else, he is a loving boy. He might be skin and bones but he gives great hugs. He makes you smile when you are sad and like I said before, will make you pee with laughter.
My little Nephew is growing up; I can see it when he looks at James. He loves him and the feeling is mutual. He will look after and protect him and I really couldn’t think of a better person to be James’ Godfather.
Although, he isn’t a little boy anymore.
Today he turns into a Man.
I hope you have the happiest of Birthdays.
You’re entering the next chapter in your life and you are going to do just fine.
I am immensely proud of you.
The best is yet to come for you, live your life and enjoy it.
I will love you always, you are the first boy I ever loved,
Your Auntie Frannie
James was in his Bumbo grabbing his Giraffe called Gerry and twisting his feet around.
I’m sitting on the floor in front of James wiping a dribble from his chin.
Pete is sitting on the ottoman behind us both.
The TV is off and the iPod is on. We are trying to induct James to our love of music.
Its eclectic and passionate in both positive and negative ways.
The wind is howling outside but there is brilliant sunshine.
The smell of the baby powder Yankee tart burning is overpowering the lounge.
Volare starts to play. Pete begins to sing in his best Dean Martin accent.
Volare, Oh oh
James starts laughing, I try to get in on the action.
Cantare, oh, oh, oh, oh
More laughter from James, from the belly this time.
His chubby little hands always go to his mouth when he laughs, his eyes showing most of the expression of joy.
More and more attempted singing.
And then it happens.
A moment so perfect, I have a perfect image in my head forever.
Its a moment I can barely describe except, this is what happiness is.
It was such a simple little memory, nothing significant happened, except how much I fell in love with my boys all over again.
A Mum and Dad and Son all exceptionally happy. And it started with a song.
I hope James wants music in his life.
Just so we can have lots of moments like this.
No wonder my happy heart sings,
Your love has given me wings
Thoughts are always going on in my mind.
It is a constant whirl of what if’s, what could be and what should have been.
Does this make me mad?
Sometimes the thoughts are thick and fast and make me blurry and scared.
Others are more rational and thoughful and make me feel like I am in control.
It switches in a matter of seconds. Changing from logical perspective to damn right panic.
Do I wish it was different, that I was different?
Maybe if it was, would I be who I am today. Would I be better or worse?
And so continues the questions and processes and thoughts.
But that’s all they are.