I've never really been a fan of huge birthday celebrations. I don't mind them, but I don't see much of a point in them. A birthday is an anniversary of a day we don't even remember. Everyone who's ever lived is born.
But I do love the excitement and general atmosphere of most birthdays.
My beautiful sister, Danica, turned eighteen yesterday, on the twenty-ninth of May. She invited some friends around, all of which also had Down syndrome, and we had ice cream cake and general snacks. She received three bunches of flowers, from her boyfriend, my father, and my father's girlfriend. All day yesterday she was glowing with excitement, and it was contagious.
My boyfriend was also over yesterday. Repeatedly she came into my room to inform both of us of her adulthood. I love how she, unlike my little brother, knocks.
He left for work, and my brother got back from a movie he saw with friends, and we sat and waited for her friends to arrive. One by one, they did. Jacob, Chris, and James came over and were smiling and happy, and Danica hid from them in her room because she felt shy.
But we poured drinks, and got out Cheetos, sweets, chocolates, and crisps, and she emerged from her room to find my younger brother showing off his newly-earned guitar skills, and her friends socialising with him. It's amazing, how good he is with people with disabilities sometimes. There are times where I doubt he has a nice bone in his body, but when I see something like that, it actually brings tears to my eyes.
We brought out the ice-cream cake, and my sister looked at it disdainfully, took a breath, and blew it out in one.
We hung around for a bit more, me pigging out on sweets and soft drink, them chatting and laughing and being the subject of photos.
A GT limousine pulled up outside our house, and we all scrambled to get a look. Mum had booked us a limo, to take us around the city.
The less romantic ideal is that we would end up at Sizzler. But that's what my sister wanted, and our chauffeur informed us it was not the first time he'd dropped people off there.
We first went to Kings Park, and let me tell you, the absolute highlight of being in a limo is the attention you get. Just about every car who drove by had passengers with eyes wide and mouths open. My mum waved at some people, quite vigorously... we were under the assumption that we could see out, but no-one could see in.
My favourite part of the ride was when we pulled up outside Sizzler, and a little girl with glasses was standing outside, waiting for her mum. She saw the limo, and her face absolutely transformed. Her mouth dropped open, into a look of surprise and absolute awe. Positively gleeful. I can remember that she started jumping, but I think my brain made that up. It was amazing.
The driver enjoyed it, I think, because of Chris, Danica, Jacob, and James' excitement- Disabled people are lucky, in that they tend not to place limitations on their excitement, they feel no need. Black Betty came on, and they were air drumming, air guitaring, and air keyboarding furiously. It was so amusing and heart-warming to watch.
Of course, photo's were a necessity. First off, the view- turning out on the camera nothing like it did on my eyes, but still damn amazing.
Then a couple of shots of lining up next to the limo.
The thing about being the photographer of the family is that you're always behind the camera, never in front.
But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Even though my sister was turning 18, we didn't take advantage of the built in bar.
They all really enjoyed themselves on the ride, as did I. It's the first time I've been in a limousine, and it was a great experience.
I hope my sister has a fulfilling life as an adult.