A blast of loud shirts

Trish and Dougie at Charlie's birthday party.
Trish and Dougie at Charlie's birthday party.
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

How do you know you’re getting old? When your child turns 21 and you go to a party and grumble about the music being too loud.

One of our son’s oldest pals, Charlie, recently celebrated his 21st birthday by having a party where friends and family of all ages were invited. Although our son, Rory, couldn’t attend as he’s still at university in Exeter, Dougie and I were happy to represent the Burgess family on the night.

The text from Charlie about the party said everyone had to come in either a Hawaiian/bad shirt. 
Although, to be truthful, it didn’t say ‘bad’ but another word which alliteratively goes very well with the word ‘shirt’.

Dougie donned the loudest shirt in his wardrobe and I cheated with a white shirt that was neither Hawaiian nor particularly bad, but we were taking presents so assumed we wouldn’t be refused admittance for flouting the dress code.

The birthday boy had taken his own invitation to the limit, dressing himself in a completely bonkers jaguar-print shorts suit. Yabba-dabba-doo!

The noise of the disco hit us as soon as we arrived and then began the exhausting process of ‘having to make yourself heard’. I was only able to hear about 30 per cent of what anyone said to me and Dougie fared even less well. I knew he had no idea what people were saying to him as he had that glazed expression on his face as he cheerily nodded and smiled.

I decided the best way to deal with this was to head for the dance floor. The DJ had either been well-briefed or had clearly sussed out his clientele. Wham, Bon Jovi, A-ha, Dexys Midnight Runners – this was 80s heaven for the parents of all the 21 year-olds in the room.

We even had some club dances, although most of us had forgotten the moves and decided that a shuffle to the left and right, plus a well-timed clap, would pass muster.

After a highly energetic bop to ‘Summer of 69’ I took a rest and surveyed the room. Where had the time gone from those days when our kids were celebrating their childhood birthdays? Running around village halls, taking thirsty gulps from bottles of Panda Pops and clasping squashy cake wrapped in soggy napkins. Friends who met in primary school have stayed together, despite the years at secondary school separating many of them. All lovely young adults now; well-mannered, funny and a credit to their parents.

And those parents? Well, we’ve all stayed together too: those friendships, which were established at the school gates when we were also a little nervous and unsure, have been cemented over the years.

Happy Birthday, Charlie, and to all our children who have the key of the door this year. We, your mums and dads, are very proud of you.

Now, can you turn that music down?

• You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk