My day began at 5:45 yesterday morning.
My birthday, I realised a few moments after I awoke and heard them: the telltale footsteps pounding up the hall. They sounded very urgent and they thundered with a purpose. Our bedroom door burst open and Lolly stood there, silent. Relieved to have made it without the eternal Bogeyman nabbing her, no doubt. Thinking we were asleep, she edged quietly around to her Dad’s side of the bed – we were both actually instantly awake, as happens when you sense those desperate-sounding footsteps in your sleep before you’re even consciously aware of them – and he welcomed her under the covers and into the crook of his big, safe Daddy-arm.
I was struck that it was the way of birthdays now. A renewal of enthusiasm for my day because it is shared with her. I closed my eyes, a feeling of sleepy bliss cloaking me again. She writhed. She wriggled. She wouldn’t keep those bloody little pins still. It was futile. There was to be no more sleep for me, although I so cruelly needed more. A whisper in the dark – “Can I get Mummy’s present now?” – and her father’s approval was all that was needed. She was up like a shot and running back to her room to retrieve the gift she had so carefully wrapped the night before.
A hand-picked present from the LGBB has become one of my favourite occasions during the year. Whether it’s my birthday or Steve’s, Christmas or the likes, whenever there is an opportunity to choose a present, I love to see what she will go for with the recipient in mind. This time, she even reminded Steve where my favourite shop was, directing him to a gorgeous little boutique shop in the hills that I do adore. That she remembers hearing me say how much I love the place is so beautiful to me. They didn’t actually end up buying anything there, though. There were obviously no live sharks for sale.
Instead, I was presented with…
Paper weight = handy! (I’m forever wishing I had a paper weight on my person for those times when… you just need one…)
Soaps = personally chosen scents of marshmallow, chocolate and lemon. But of course!
And, okay, the chocolate coins. There was an angle there. I’m impressed with her tenacity, which paid off that day (I hid two of them in her lunchbox to find – we’re both so predictable like that).
The present giving was all over by 6 o’clock. Unforgivingly early. I got this from Steve – I LOVE it:
And look, I even got myself something the night before:
By the end of the day, culminating in dinner at her beloved favourite haunt – the local pub (because it’s got the “special flickering lights” out the front, meant for luring pensioners in to the pokies within, these are those brainwave-confusing white bulbs chasing themselves around the grand entrance that say “Come in! We have warmth! We have comfy tall chairs at your favourite slot machines! EV-eryone’s a winner!” Hmmmmm) – I captured one final happy snap. And blurry as it is, it says it all about us.
Make your own fun. Don’t wait for it to come to you.
These are the quirks unique to my daughter that make all the day to day issues and squabbles pale into insignificance. It is not those that will ultimately define her, although they are playing a vital role in shaping her (either towards or away from the new experiences she has in her daily life now). Still, they are but mere blips on the overall map of her life.
This is how simple and unscripted life is meant to be. I lay with her and we chatted and giggled until she turned away from me and fell asleep. All in one impressive movement. How do kids do that?? How? And why can’t I, even when I am bone-achingly tired? Questions for another day, perhaps.
Must remember to step back every so often. To see the spiritual within the physical daily grind. To see the beauty in even the hard parts.
And in order to find the appropriate points to detach and assist, objectively, in detangling the enmeshment when things get too messy.