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The announcement …Time for the birthday cake … has the scattered little guests gathering around the beaming birthday girl, leaving adults to watch on with indulgent smiles. Observing this part of the proceedings is by far for me a most enlightening experience. Watching all the little ones sporting excited faces noisily gather around, pushing and shoving to get that front and centre sort-after position closest to the table, near the cake.
The birthday cake extravagantly covered in pink and white icing, with sparklers and candles blazing, is ceremoniously born aloft, usually by the very proud mum, then placed in front of the milling crowd of children, some with rosy little cheeks puffed out together with pursed lips ready, in the hope of being permitted to help the baby blow them out … one year old and all those candles!
It can be almost prophesying to reflect on their body language, bright excited eyes, big grins spread over their party-food smeared faces, sticky hands clasped in excitement, or clapping for no apparent reason other than to expel some unexplained burst of excited energy, then joining in the Happy Birthday song with as much gusto of members in some award winning choir.
I cannot help but wonder what it is that grips children then holds them in the state of sheer delight, it’s not their birthday, they don’t get the gifts, the older of them must realise that the baby has no real concept of what is going on, so what is it that keeps them so enraptured for a few captivating moments?
Every one … adults included … gathered around both the child and the birthday cake, having no thoughts other than total support, while appreciating that the moment of pleasure belongs solely to the birthday person. Within a matter of minutes of that cake cutting, magically the veil lifts, children are running around or back bickering among themselves, adults have returned to the conversations that had been interrupted.
Although my question is never answered, every time I attend a birthday party and witness this extraordinary moment of total unselfish support for another person by all present, I am grateful.

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