Sunday, 15 May 2016
The Silly Season
Next week marks the beginning of the silly season in this house and by silly season I mean birthday season part one. Through careful bad planning, four of my children have their birthdays inside a three and a half week period including two on the same day! Birthdays are big business here. The kids are already so excited and a countdown of days began a few weeks ago. A tradition we started many moons ago of giving a small token present to the people “whose birthday it’s not” means everyone looks forward to their sibling’s big day for that reason too. It can be more hassle sometimes trying to think of and find all the token presents necessary for my not unsubstantial brood, than it is actually sorting the birthday boy or girl’s gifts, but we get there in the end. I never work on the children’s birthdays and my husband always takes a half day - he used to take the full day but the increase in numbers puts a real pressure on his leave! Birthday dinner will be the birthday child’s choosing and for the school going birthday children there is never homework. Everyone loves birthdays, well everyone except me a little bit.
I am possibly the world’s most sentimental person or at the very least on the shortlist for the title. I lament every passing phase of the children’s lives. Much as I crave sleep and the ability to visit the bathroom or take a shower without an audience and much as I would love to be able to finish a conversation with another adult without being needed to solve someone’s immediate “crisis”, I don’t really want my kids to grow up.
I love to see their happy faces on the morning of their birthdays and to hear, when they get back from school, how the principal mentioned their names on the intercom and their classmates sang “happy birthday”. I love to see how excited my kids are for each other and I love also the effort they make for each other on birthdays by drawing a picture, making a card, or even buying a chocolate bar for their sibling because it’s their special day. I love how special the birthday boy or girl feels.
In the midst of all of this my mind is cast back to that particular day however many years ago. I, of course, blank out the gory and painful bits and rewrite history in my head when they pop in. I clockwatch a lot of the day and remind my other half of exactly what was happening at this stage. He doesn’t need a reminder, not only was he there, he gets a rerun of events every single year. Depending on the child he hears how I was watching “only fools and horses”, I thought I needed a wee but couldn’t go, we had to stop for change at a garage while I was in labour so that we could pay for parking at the hospital, I was wearing my purple shirt (echoes of Fr Dougal Maguire here) or I went to watch the junior infant nativity before I would agree to go to the hospital. Whatever the child, like most people, I have a story leading up to their birth.
I remember seeing each of my perfect little babies for the first time as clearly as if it was yesterday and I find it hard to believe that so many years have gone by since they came into the world.
The first birthday up involves my third child reaching double figures! I was wearing my purple shirt going in to have him :-D. He is beyond excited as Wednesday approaches and chicken tikka masala is on the menu for dinner (courtesy of his nana to be honest). The tidal wave of anticipation will sweep us all up as the big day draws nearer but I will remain somewhat nostalgic as my baby boy grows up way too quickly for my liking. I know it’s my job to help and guide him as he grows and to try to keep him safe and I know I am incredibly lucky to so far have had the privilege. Over-sentimentality can be a curse. The rational side of me will just have to try to focus on the yummy dinner that’s coming….