To kick off Harper Bee's June 'Party' month, our Queen Bee Janine explains why we shouldn't limit cake and celebration to just one day a year. This month is party month at Harper Bee. Actually, every month is party month at Harper Bee! Other than Christmas and January’s back to school , every weekend our stores are full of tweens looking for presents for their best friend’s birthday party, and weekdays time-poor mums come dashing in store to pick up the click and collect gift pack they ordered online the night before – just in time for their daughter’s birthday!
It makes me try to remember back to when Jessie was a tween, and how her birthdays were celebrated. I do remember a sleepover where a pile of giggling girls arrived, dressed in something that started with the letter M (no idea why.) Another year I took Jess and friends to the theatre. I remember entering the building, but nothing else. You see, when Jessie was 10, we were involved in a horrible car crash. I was driving Jess and two friends home from school, when a large truck jack-knifed coming around the corner. I remember seeing a wall of truck coming right at me, just before we went under, the roof crushed inwards and I lost consciousness. The girls were fine, I suffered a traumatic brain injury, and for the rest of Jessie’s school life our roles were reversed. Jessie helped me with my words when I couldn’t speak (or jumped in and corrected me when I did – like when I said to a bemused builder during our house renovation that I wanted a ‘wall of fridges’ instead of a ‘wall of windows’). Jessie read out the recipe for me when I was cooking, as often I would forget where I was up to and would keep repeating the same steps (Add salt. Add salt. Add salt).
Jessie navigated when I got lost driving her to school, brought me in cups of tea when I spent days in bed, and acted as a buffer against the world when it all got too much. It has taken quite a few years to be back firing on all cylinders - doctors said that I would never work again – so it is a pretty fantastic feeling to look at Harper Bee and know that they were wrong. An even better feeling is to look at my pretty fantastic daughter, who helped me set up Harper Bee, and is now following her own dream and studying neuroscience at University. I don’t remember much of Jessie’s tween years – and need to look at photos to remember her birthday celebrations – but I certainly celebrate with her now, every time we meet. Why should we limit cake and celebrating such a special friendship to only one day a year?