Today is Olivia’s birthday. She is eight. It is hard to believe that eight years ago today I was at the Crowborough birthing centre, lying in a tepid bath saying to my friend Doc “this really hurts.” Oh the naivety of first-time mothers who shun drugs. Doc (being a doctor) should have warned me. But all she came equipped with was a huge amount of patience and a Crunchie bar. Still it was lovely to have her there, although for the first time in my life I refused a Crunchie bar.
Anyway, so far she is very happy. She has had some presents; she is particularly pleased with the bubble-machine gun, and has decided to come home for lunch alone sending her siblings to the school canteen. This afternoon she has a party with 15 guests, face-painting and a large raspberry mousse cake.
The problem is now to keep her siblings happy. Leonardo is livid that she has had presents and he has had none. And it’s no use trying to explain that next month when it’s his birthday he’ll have presents. “Where are my presents?” he keeps wandering around the house wailing. Bea is a little jollier, mainly because her new love from school is coming to the party.
I have decided that the only way to deal with potential stress situations like ones incurred by birthdays is to laugh. This is a valuable lesson learnt from my mother-in-law. She and my father-in-law were flying back after spending the weekend in Paris. The plane stopped and my father-in-law, keen to get to the golf course, stood up to get out. The Frenchman sitting in the aisle seat though obviously doesn’t play golf and sat still, notwithstanding the fact that the fasten seat-belt sign had been switched off. My father-in-law started huffing and puffing.
“Ho ho ha ha ha,” said my mother-in-law, as she’d been taught at our laughter yoga class (see below post). “Ho ho ha ha ha.”
My father-in-law started laughing and the whole situation turned from one of stress to one of general hilarity.
So when there are 15 children here later on today, all weeping because they haven’t won the pass-the-parcel or have been bashed by someone or have sat on their raspberry cake I shall remember my mother-in-law and laugh.
At least that’s the plan….
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007