Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Birthday Cards

Dear Readers,

Yesterday was my mum's birthday (for her sake, I will keep her age in discretion, but I will say she doesn't look a day over 25 :P).  I was lying on my bed the night before, pen poised over the page of the card that I had made.  What should I write?  I didn't want to do the generic thing and write 'Happy Birthday I hope you had a great day, it's lovely to celebrate with you, thanks for being a great mum, yadda, yadda, yadda," because, whilst true, these words simply are not special.  They are some regurgitated pleasant words that, in contrast to much of my writing, seem hollow.  

So, I decided to embrace my inner creativity.  For my Nanna's 80th birthday this year, I was expected to write a speech; being the oldest grandchild.  Instead of making a corny speech filled with words previously said ("we are so lucky to have you in our lives, we love you, what a great way to celebrate a milestone blah blah blahdy blah"), I chose to write something a little more creative.  *Ding ding ding* went the fork against the glass; and I rose from my seat.

"In our hearts there live the memories.  Those that we cherish and love to death.  

There’s picnic’s down at the rivers, three children running around the wharf's of the yacht clubs.  There’s endless games of hide and seek (or just running away from each other) through the Lisle Lodge gardens, with winding paths and echoing giggles.  There’s perfectly shiny orange nail polish spread delicately onto the ends of dainty fingers; and lipstick to match.  There’s many Christmas Days, wearing those ridiculous hats and smiling amongst seafood and salad.  There’s Easter’s with special white chocolate Lint bunnies given every year.  There’s the old fashioned telephone that sits on the wall, the French magazines and comfy cushions.  There are Nanna’s famous chicken sandwiches and piles upon piles of books collected over the years.  There’s the memories we can’t quite remember; with kiddy pools and puppy Hugo.  There’s the colour white.  There’s fancy hats and not-so-fancy hats.  There are stories about the bus.  There’s the wisdom and the warmth that Poppa Billy brought into our lives.  There’s music and dancing and hugs and kisses and speeches.  And of course, there’s this moment here, spent on your 80th Birthday, Nanna.  
May we never forget them all.

This way, these words mean something.  They required thought, they required memory and they required proper punctuation and grammar.  I hope that they stuck in the minds of my family, took root and began to grow, fueling their own flourish of memories from times spent with those they love.  It's interesting for people to see what parts of them get noticed, what things other's remember or cherish about them.  So for my mother's card; I wrote a poem that goes exactly like this:

Fluffy dark hair and a big toothy smile on a petite frame filled with love. 
The smell of nice perfume. 
An eagle, swallow, blue wren or even a dove. 
A ‘huggy woo woo’.
An added ‘achooooweee’ on the end of a sneeze and; 
‘I need to do a poo’.  
Green tea that sits on the counter, growing cold.
A steamy plate of coiled spaghetti topped with meaty tomato bolognaise. 
“God I’m getting old”.
Washing hung on the line and no dishes in the sink.
Beds made, cat tray clean.
Who would do all those things if it weren’t for mum, you think?
And for god’s sake take the bin out - it honks like no tomorrow!
You’re always there to listen,
Or to hug throughout our sorrow.
With hugs and kisses for your daughter teens.
And poems and words and crystals and crosswords. 
And “does my bum look big in these jeans?”
You’re not afraid to curse and swear
But we love you all the same,
For it’s you, our dearest Mum, who never forgets to care.

So, next time you are about to write in a card, even if you're not a particularly creative person, think about the things that remind you of that person, the reasons you are happy to have them, things that make you laugh.  And perhaps, they will cherish that card and hold onto it forever. 

Lots of Love,
Annabel xxx

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