I help my husband shift the last carefully wrapped box onto the table, minutes before my eldest daughter, Amy, bumbles down the stairs, her eyes almost as big as the ‘8’ badge pinned swiftly to her pink pony pyjamas.
She instantly runs to the table overflowing with presents of all shapes and sizes, but, when she reaches her sticky fingers out, I swipe them away.
“I want to open some now!” She snaps.
“You wait till your brothers, and your sister come down.”
“But they spend ages lying in!” She wails, only truly slightly annoyed. The second youngest of all my children, Amy has a slight sharpness to her personality, she rushes to get things done, but has determination and clever wit for an eight-year-old.
“Have some breakfast, dear,” I sigh, and pass her the ‘Cheerios’ box that’s almost hidden in the pile of presents. Eating breakfast is going to be difficult on this table, so I let the Birthday Girl grab her bowl and switch on the TV in the living room.
13-year-old Cian stumbles down the stairs, wiping sleep from his blue eyes. He grabs a muffin from the side, and starts to head off towards his bedroom again.
“Cian. Have you got anything to say to Amy?”
He pauses, frozen as a statue on the third step.
“Oh yeah. Happy birthday, sis.”
“Oh, and don’t forget to complete that Maths work I know you’ve got stacking up upstairs.”
“Mmm…” Cian mumbles into his muffin.
It’s going to be too busy a day… I grumble to myself as my head starts to burn.
My kindly husband (too kind with our children, if you ask me) probably notices my distress, for he says:
“I’ll wake up the others and we can get everything under way.”
”Okay,” I frown inwardly, “Just as long as they don’t get in the way of my preparations.” Because a woman must get on with the housework without the many interruptions and distractions of the modern day and age.
Oh, gosh, I am starting to sound like my mother… Right, um, I’ll make sure there’s enough dinner and cake for everyone.
Housework is not just about doing the dishes, beds, ironing, hoovering…you get the idea. It has its perks too, you know.
Once my husband has dealt with the other two sleepyheads, we start to wait for Aidan and his fiancée to arrive. It is very gracious of them to turn up during the middle of the preparations for the wedding, and although I am eager to accept them into our birthday celebrations here, I also have a hidden agenda: I want to see how Meggie will be with my kids.