It was my birthday this weekend. Only son seemed more excited than I was. He was up at 7am. “Do you want your card, mum?” he asked excitedly. “Give me a couple of hours,” I mumbled. My mum rang later and asked if I was being pampered or given a foot massage etc. The teens were still in bed. Only son was beginning to flag and getting slightly fractious. Daughter two came downstairs and handed me a home-made birthday card. It contained a song she had penned. It included “A is for always jumping on me” [I have threatened to dive bomb her to wake her up some mornings] and “Y is for you’re a weirdo”. Thanks. She had painted a beautiful tree on the front.
Only son thrust his card in my hand. It was him and me and a rainbow. It included a series of quizzes. “Which is the better shark? Whale shark or basking shark?” [Answer: basking shark, of course]. It added: “Since you love to work: what is 56 divided by 8 times 15 – 14?”
Daughter two proceeded to wind only son up about his card. Only son stomped off. “I think you’re a bit tired,” I said to only son. “I am NOT tired,” he replied, rubbing his eyes. He agreed to a back massage.
Presents were exchanged. My mum arrived with a balloon and everyone got ready to go out. This can take several hours for teenagers. Daughter one refused to give me her card unless it was on a one to one basis. Daughter three hadn’t quite finished hers yet. Only son complained about the choice of restaurant [vegetarian].
In the car I turned on the Men They Couldn’t Hang CD I had been given by my brother. “Ironmasters” blared out. The teenagers were impressed that their mother’s music taste was a little more edgy than they had previously believed. It lasted five minutes before we switched to Abba. The whole car was singing. Only son conked out halfway through One and Only. My mum has seen Mamma Mia 2 three times and dissolves into tears as soon as the first bars of When I Kissed the Teacher come on. We used to sing Abba all the way down the B roads from Scotland to the Watford Gap when I was a child.
Only son was back on form for the veggie curry place. Daughter one had dressed up for the occasion and looked ultra glamorous; daughter two was in her trademark red anorak; daughter three was hobbling around in her big sisters high heeled boots. We headed home to the strains of George Michael.
By the next morning daughters one and three had delivered their cards. We decided to go to Mamma Mia 2. “I don’t think you can come as you have your revision to do,” I said to daughter two. She has mock resits this week. “I’d rather do Abba than Eurovision,” she replied. She is yet to build up to anything approaching GCSE panic level.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.