Generally, when choosing gifts which will have to be sent by post, I am sensible enough to consider issues such as size, weight and breakability (is there even such a word? If not, then I have just invented it.) I was
therefore going against all the rules when I snapped up an extra present for the Eldest of the Darling Daughters whose birthday it is today.
Having broken the
rules, I could have redeemed myself had I thought to take my daughter’s presents with me when I went to visit her own daughter, my granddaughter Eleanor, in Brighton a week or so ago. I hadn’t wrapped them up by then, but that wouldn’t have
taken too much time or trouble; however, with other things on my mind, I simply didn’t think about it.
There was therefore nothing for it but to trust Royal
Mail to deliver my Rather Large Parcel and to hope that my daughter, or a member of her family, would be at home to receive it.
Yesterday, the Birthday Girl messaged
me to reassure me that her present had arrived. “Wow, Mum, that’s a big parcel - I can’t wait to open that tomorrow!” Oh, dear, one worry had been replaced by another; had my Rather Large Parcel raised Great Expectations which might
be dashed when its contents were revealed. At the time of writing, I haven’t heard whether the Present Opening Ceremony has taken place yet...
On our family
message board, there was an interesting trail of messages as the Birthday Girl’s siblings queried whether their gifts had arrived and I made the mistake of crowing that mine was almost certainly the largest parcel. “Size isn’t everything
mother!” the Youngest of the Darling Daughters reproved me, her message followed by several emojis. I never use emojis in my own messages, so worried am I that I will inadvertently send something extremely inappropriate. I am reminded of David Cameron
who once sent a message of condolence to a friend who had lost a loved one and signed of “lol” assuming it meant Lots of Love. No, I’m not laughing because there but for the grace of God goes one of my emojis...
The Middle of the Darling Daughters was quick off the mark to comment that, according to the Rascally Trio, the size of the box is everything - which led Our Boy to offer to send his sister a massive
box for her birthday, adding, cheekily: “Just a box, mind.” Oh, yes, he used a box emoji - even I could work that one out.
I have to say that this
family conversation via messaging gave me a warm feeling inside first thing this morning. I’m easy to please like that. It’s not what we said, you understand, but the fact that everyone was having their two-pennorth and marking the Birthday Girl’s
special day together.
Young parents celebrating their little children’s birthdays with presents, parties, cake and balloons probably don’t realise
that mothers (and fathers too) still mark the anniversaries of their off-spring’s birth, however old they may be. For Mr B, the birth of our eldest child was particularly special because, being adopted as a baby, he had never before known a blood relative.
That tiny scrap, born in the early hours of a Sunday morning, was doubly precious as a result.
Our next door neighbours came round to see the new arrival
later the same day. “She’s just like a skinned rabbit,” said one of them - and we were so incensed, Mr B and I, because she was our first-born, our pride and our delight. Skinned rabbit, indeed!
I had been on bed rest for six weeks before she was born and, just a week later I was in hospital running a high temperature. The only available bed was in a local isolation hospital where we were the only mother and baby
among the patients. Every time my daughter emitted even the tiniest cry, several nurses would be there at my bedside, fighting among themselves to be the one to take her off and look after her. She has always been popular, the Eldest of the Darling Daughters...
When she was a littl’un, my daughter had a birthday ritual - she would clamber onto my lap and ask to be told the story of the day she was born. These days she
is far too grown up for such a story time - so I tell it to myself, every year, remembering the fearful, the funny, the unforgettable.
Happy birthday, darling
Anne - you were special then, you are special now. I hope the Rather Large Parcel isn’t too much of a disappointment...