I used to be able
To smell a birthday from mile
I’d hunt down the love-wrapped gifts
Trying to guess what was in the pile
A smiling balloon at my place
The celebrations reaching the ceiling
A new badge each year
Perhaps a fresh mature feeling
My name iced in cake
Queen Vic sponge with extra jam
Studded with candles that numbered
The crowning age that I am
But your birthday is different
And not the same as mine
Like so many things in the grown-up
World that I can’t define
When you get older
Do you not need presents anymore?
Where’s the stack of gifts and ribbons
That take over the whole floor?
Is there an age you reach
Where balloons are a thing of the past?
Do they not sell them to mummies or daddies?
Why can’t the fun last?
Why isn’t your milestone
Artfully etched into the cake?
How do people know the digits for the badge?
And how many candles to take?
When you were a little girl
Did you wait to smell your birthday?
The celebration in the air
Like your own special holiday?
Don’t worry, Mummy
Your birthday is important to me
I have a present for you this year
A poem written by your daughter, lovingly