Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's my party

Terrible night. My six-year-old woke up about 1.30am, complaining of feeling sick and had to come into my bed. I think I managed about an hour of sleep after that. If we weren't traipsing to the bathroom, he was asking for water, tapping on the wooden bedhead or moaning: "Mummy, I feel sick." "Me too," I muttered into the pillow. I can virtually guarantee that one or other of the children are sick whenever my husband is away. It is as if he says to them: "Remember. Be good for Mummy and be sure and vomit lots while Daddy is away."

I do not know whether it is sleep deprivation but I cannot decide what to do tomorrow. Tomorrow being my birthday. In London, if I could get the day off work, I would often spend it alone shopping, seeing an exhibition or a movie and then out to dinner with my husband in the evening. I do not know where to go here. Can I replicate the birthday I would have had but in a different place or is that a dangerous thing to do? Will I compare and contrast and find my Northern life too different for my taste? Will I end up buying a saddle for no better reason than I fetched up in the saddle shop? Or, do I do something entirely different? Go for a bone-drenching beach walk alone? (Happy Birthday Billy-No-Mates.) Take the four-year-old and the baby to a castle? (If I was counting, I would estimate I have visited two castles this week.) Perhaps I will buy a birthday cake and share it with the builders. I will say: "It's my birthday and I have changed my mind about that wall you knocked down." I feel old. I am old. I am old enough to have to think about my age. Sometimes, I get it wrong. I think: "Am I 42? Or am I 43?" I once had to knock 10 years off my age when I applied for a job undercover. If you tell people you are 10 years younger than you are, they tend to think you haven't aged well. Even so, as I readjusted mentally to the new me, I thought: "This is quite nice actually. I could do this. I could start my life over again and write it differently this time."

33 comments:

Iota said...

Here is a true story. I once booked a doctor's appointment for a time when my husband was going to be away, because I knew one of the children would be ill, and I thought I would save myself the bother of negotiating with the receptionist for a same-day appointment. And I did use it.

I don't think I can bear reading your blog any longer. I'm too sad for you. I will be your friend. You will have to move near me here in the deep Midwest, or I will move to Northumberland, but these are mere technicalities.

Sally Morten said...

Had a similar experience last year, turned out to be the best birthday ever. I think the trick is to go round again, that's what I'm doing...

Happy Birthday!

Norman said...

Well Happy Birthday, WITN! Hope your HITN (Hubby in t' North) is taking you somewhere nice, and kid free! While you are celebrating, I'll be hanging an exhibition at Kielder Castle.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Kids are always ill when father is away, it is an unwritten law. Mine don't do it by halves either, Meningitis is the best to date.

Birthdays can be v. miserable, but you MUST drink champagne, that's another unwritten law.

jane said...

Whenever my husband was away, some disaster would always strike. The conservatory roof would blow off, my car would collapse, we'd get an enormous leak in the kitchen ceiling or a drain would rupture into torrents of vile bilge. I'd get in the emergency plumber, mechanic, drain rodder, worry about the cost of it all, burst into tears on the phone when hubby rang me from a restaurant overlooking Table Mountain. As they got older the kids started to anticipate Dad's absence with a sense of forboding and a degree of black humour - "what do you think will blow up this time Mum?" and we became a standing joke as a family. Other Dads asked ours how he did it, "nice timing" gags abounded. Other Mums looked at me with pity, and asked me how I did it too.

Then came the summer holidays when our kids always managed to save up their chicken-pox, German measles or whooping cough for our two weeks away. I remember scooping a floating raft of sick out of the hotel swimming pool with a kitchen sieve rather than let the other guests realise I'd let a child with a hacking cough go swimming. We sat in carparks with crisps and Cokes whilst hubby managed a furtive pint, children not being allowed inside pubs in those days, especially when covered in chicken pox scabs. The person I missed most whilst we were away was our GP.

I can laugh at all of that now (somewhat hysterically, I admit) but as everyone seems to say - these things will pass. Husband still works away a lot of the time but now the kids are sick in their own houses, whilst mine is achingly empty.

Sorry to be sad, your blog really hit a note with me. I want you to ring your new mate and ask her if she'd like to go out to a birthday lunch with you, and have a lovely time.

mutleythedog said...

I'm 43 wifey! I have arranged a buyer for the children - and I am sending a stretch limo with the Chippendales to pick you up.. I shall meet you in the bar of the Savoy for cocktails around 1 -ish. I shall understand if you are late. There is eight of them...

mutleythedog said...

Old dogs know what is troubling you - its instinctive...

sunshine said...

For the very first (and perhaps last) time, I agree with Mutley. Get in the limo with the Chippies and enjoy the champagne! But Mutley -- after eight Chippies, what will WITN have left for you, you poor baby?

I Beatrice said...

There comes a time when the only thing to do with birthdays is resolutely ignore their occurrence.

A time too, when to wake up in the morning is to kick up one's heels and say "Look at that - I'm still here!"

But happy birthday to you anyway - to me you seem blissfully young!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

43 years, or is it 42? And not a day over 21. Not a bad day for walk on the beach. Have a lovely day. And many happy returns.

Crystal xx

jane said...

Happy Birthday WITN. The sun's shining for you (in Birmingham anyway). Will raise a glass to your good health!



:)

Flowerpot said...

For what it's worth I'd do something different to what you'd do in London otherwise you'll compare the two and feel even worse.
Happy Birthday even so!

@themill said...

Happy Birthday. At least you won't get rerouted by a bomb scare on the beach!

occasional northerner said...

Happy Birthday. Beach, a lobster and a bottle of Chablis is the answer. Hope that doesn't start some cruelty to crustaceans thing!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Happy birthday Wifey. The sun is indeed shining here for you.

Get yourself off to Newcastle Racecourse tonight - first race is at 6.45pm - and get dressed up, with hat and heels. It's the only thing to do today!

Have a good one.

The Grocer said...

Iv'e got the Chablis, wait, why not order a luxury picnic from us and go and sit on the beach in the rain, ah , um, I tried. Happy Birthday

Stay at home dad said...

Well you are writing it, anyway. That's a start. Happy Birthday...

mutleythedog said...

sunshine said...

For the very first (and perhaps last) time, I agree with Mutley. Get in the limo with the Chippies and enjoy the champagne! But Mutley -- after eight Chippies, what will WITN have left for you, you poor baby?


I am guessing not a lot.... But I am not selfish. You should get a blog Little Miss Sunshine - then I can flirt with you....you know you would like it.

Caroline said...

Happy Birthday
x

The thinker said...

Well - I hope you avoided London with it all being gloomy news today re the potential car bomb in Haymarket. You could sit at home with your feet up - a lovely bottle of Moet with smoked salmon and strawberries and watching Wimbledon (if it not raining) - let the kids have some champers too - after the initial fun hyper activity they'll sleep like angels. It looks very very wet up North so i hope you're managing to keep your head above water.
I'm just going to see if wethere is an email address for you and in which case will look out a lovely jackie lawson greeting card. :)
Mid 40s is a lovely age - its after 55 that the general decline appears to set in. Perhaps you're getting menopausal symptoms - depression being very much one of them - gosh - what a comforter I've been - sorry. x

Daniel said...

Dear Mrs. Wife

Happy birthday.

If you are stuck with the children all day on your birthday,

(and I know you love them, but maybe you might wish for some adult companionship, so not having any adult companionship, you might feel stuck with the kids)

why not make the most of it, and tell them this is "Mummy's" birthday and then have a birthday party for yourself with the kids.

You could either give them some money to buy your presents (under supervision) or you could just buy your own presents, and help them wrap them, and then act excited when you open them, or you could just all make some little kid crafty things, or just pick some wild flowers.

And get a cake, and get some icecream, and hype the kids up with excitement like its Christmas morning, only its not Christmas, its MUMMY'S BIRTHDAY!!! Hooray!

And also, I think you find that if you subtract a couple of years off your age, it always makes you feel better. Even if your true age is 89, it just feels better to tell people you're 87.

sunshine said...

Hi, Wifey -- After a morning of a charming mammogram and dr.'s appt, I've thought up another Birthday angle.

Husband gets home tonight, right? Just postpone the B'day a day or maybe two. Simply plan what you want to do (we already know he's not too great on planning celebrations) -- Great dinner (make it expensive, please), some other endeavor that makes you happy. Make all the reservations. Invite him to accompany you and to pay for it all. Even lay out his suitable clothes if that's not a strong point for him.

Inform him that you look absolutely stunning and you want to hear him say it! Just MAKE it happen! He might be delighted to get off with just the cost and none of the planning!

The thinker said...

A friend of mine has emailed Wifey a jackie lawson greeting card from all of us - hope it makes her feel she is celebrating birthday amongst REAL friends.

Cathy said...

Happy Birthday! Believe me, you wouldn't have wanted to have been in London today.

Poetess said...

Hi WITN

I hope you have a lovely day whatever you decide. How about a Teddy Bears Picnic on the floor with the kids. I often did it for my kids, or was it for me!

loved iotas comment about making a docs appointment knowing she would need it. Now that is called being prepared and very clever.

I would have had to book the car in at the garage too cause that was always gauranteed to play up also. To the point that when my hubby went off to the Gulf War and I was left out in Germany on my own, he trained me up on how to change a compressor, tune the engine up and change the plugs. I did this with two babies sat beside me.

Poetessxxxx

Motheratlarge said...

Hope you had a lovely birthday, Wifey!

rara_avis said...

happy birthday! hope you managed to get some fun time in.

debio said...

Happy Birthday, WITN (sorry I'm late visiting).

Hope your day proved unexpectedly enjoyable.

occasional northerner said...

Have you been to Belsay to the Picture House exhibition? Fifth to the top left of the fire place in the room that Imogen Cloet and Jacob Polley have filled with keys is the pantry key!

Retiredandcrazy said...

I remember once watching a 55 year old celebrity on TV and commenting to my husband that she had aged much better than me.

"What age do you think you are then?"
"the same age as her?"
"No, try 65"
"You're kidding, I can't be that old"
"I can assure you that you are"
"Fuck".

Sadly, that is also a true story!

jane said...

I wake up nearly every morning and get a sudden shock when I remember I am 58 and not 43 any more. Apparently if you live your life appropriate to the age you think you are, you are less likely to look your real age anyway. Anything's worth a go don't you think? Hence my wardrobe full of unsuitable clothes, a spikey haircut and too much lip gloss. Sad old bird, me, but trendy with it.

:)

Miss Thistle said...

I will be in Northumberland on holiday next week, may bump into you at a castle. My children have planned Alnwick (due to the Harry Potter connection, of course) I would like to see the fountains, but I fear I may be washed away.

My 9 year old son seems to think Northumberland could be exciting, he asked if they have 'minor earthquakes'. I haven't told him about the bears

Brennig said...

Saddle-buying should be left to the experts...

17"?
17-1/2"?
Longer or shorter?
Narrow?
Wide?
Somewhere in between?
Black?
Brown?

I'd stick with the bone-drenching beach walk; far easier to change your mind about and anything less than £1,200 has to be a bargain.
:-)

Happy Birthday!