7 years ago today my Dad turned 60.
My parents invited all their friends and family to join us for a big lamb braai at a public picnic spot in a Nature Reserve near their home.
It was one of those very wonderful collaborative events, lots of people making salads and breads and desserts and some dear friends of my parents driving through from the Karoo with two sheep's worth of cutlets to feed the crowd.
My husband and brothers were on braai duty, and we hired in plates, glasses, big dishes for the meat, we placed an order for a ton of wood, arranged pop-up gazebos and chairs, made sure everyone had directions etc.
The evening before I was round at my Mum's helping prep salads with some friends. We chopped and diced and cling-wrapped, endlessly rearranging the fridge to fit it all in.
Quite early on I was flagging, suddenly exhausted and barely able to stand. So much so that Mum was concerned for me driving home. But I had a cup of tea, felt stronger and left, staggering into bed as soon as I got there.
The next day was beautiful and very warm. We all worked hard, cooking and arranging and hosting and feeding and chatting and laughing and celebrating my dear Dad and how precious he is to us all.
That evening, weary and happy, back at my parents place, we divided up the remaining uncooked meat into manageable portions to freeze.
The sight of all that raw meat suddenly became too much for me - the blood and the smell and the very rawness of it all. I was overcome with queasiness and had to leave the kitchen to lie down for a bit.
That week I found out I was, of course, pregnant.
And so every year since as we celebrate my Dad's birthday, always with the non-negotiable lemon meringue pie, and the bottle of good brandy and the family gathering to mark the occasion - I also mark the moment as the beginning of my parenthood.
The very first time I had to adjust my pace to meet the demands of a small person, the first family gathering she shared with us.
I love this gentle overlap, the dual celebration I've observed since then. I love that my Dad and Frieda's celestial paths crossed somehow, in some small funny way.
It was his 60th birthday and the beginning of his Grandfatherdom. Today it's his 67th and what an absolutely wonderful Grandfather he is.
Happy birthday Dad.