Calm mum wannabe

I'm just a calm mum wannabe, muddling on through from tantrum to tantrum, one big deep breath at a time. Ommmm....

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Born on Christmas Day

My brother Marcus was born forty years ago on Christmas Day. Special birthday, right? Well, not really. I’m sure the first couple of birthday-Christmases were all very special, but I made my entrance into the world 19 months later and our other brother a couple of years after that, and pretty soon Marcus’s birthday became a bit of a half-hour job, somewhere between opening Santa’s presents first thing in the morning and the under-the-tree family presents later on. Awwwww.

Before you get the violins out, I should point out that my mum made sure that Marcus had a half-birthday party every year on the 25th June. My protests that I wanted a half-birthday party fell on deaf ears, by the way. (Possibly something to do with being born in July, but I put it down to favouritism, myself.)

Birthdays have always been a bit hit-and-miss in our family since we all flew the nest. We’ve all lived in different parts of the country (continent/world), so depending on when we got together you either got a present or you didn’t. Sometimes we’d play catch up, sometimes not. No big deal. I have a suspicion that our slapdash approach meant that the same people were always getting diddled each year. A few years ago we decided to stop the presents completely, other than for the kids. My mum, however, still gives presents, my sis-in-law always sends cards and I might phone if you’re lucky. Oops. So it looks like there’s still some diddling going on. Sorry about that, folks.

Anyway, I digress. After forty years of interrupting our Christmas celebrations to rush through Marcus’s birthday presents (“Hurry uuuup!”), we decided to do something different this year, proving it’s never too late to change.

We clubbed together to get the present, and bought a beautiful Canadian canoe. My younger bro Piers, who’s a bit of a Bear Grylls (although I don’t think he’s ever drunk his own you-know-what) came up with a brilliant plan: a day trip canoeing on Christmas Eve. He picked a route not too far from my parents’ house, where we could paddle down the canal, hop across a field and cruise back down the river. Lovely.

Here are the more interested members pouring over the map, while others show a more laissez-faire attitude to the planning process.

We have a hot drink and a bite to eat by the water's edge before we set off. 

Here’s Marcus and his family about to have their first paddle. 

And this is my mum showing us all that being not-quite-70 does not make you too old to get in a canoe.

Much "row, row,  row-ing your boat" later, here are the two canoes (Piers has one too) going under the canal bridge.

We all agreed it was a fantastic day out and it’s a new birthday-Christmas tradition we hope to keep up for many years to come. Beats stuffing your face and falling asleep on the sofa -although no doubt there'll be some of that more traditional activity going on too. Happy birthday-Christmas, big bro! 

And now it’s on to the turkey…

(The observant reader will notice my blog is approximately one week behind for most posts. This is something I aim to improve on in the New Year!)

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