"Do you know what day it is tomorrow?" I ask.
"Saturday," they chorus. Correct, of course. Note to self: I must learn to use the word date.
"Yes, Saturday the 22nd. Do you know what's special about that?"
Lengthy pause for thought.
"It's one month until my birthday!" No1 child declares with glee. More truth.
"Yes, but what about tomorrow. Whose birthday is it then?"
Well, we go around the houses but eventually realise that it is Grampa's. And that we need to get a card and sign it and send it.
None of this is can be described as maudlin, I agree, but all the time I am thinking Today's the 21st. Today it is twenty-one years since my mother died. Can't you see today is what is really important?
But of course, it isn't. Not to them, who have never met her; not to my friends, most of whom don't know she's even dead; not to the vast majority of the world for whom the day is the same as the one before, and the one after.
I think of telling them, but their love of the living Grampa and the excitement of an imminent birthday mean I cannot dampen their joyful spirits. I hold my tongue, chastise myself for being selfishly morose, kiss the little darlings and clear up the mess left from dinner as we rush on to other activities.
Presumably that's the way Mum would want it too.