It was my birthday yesterday, and really I wasn’t expecting much. In fact, I never expected much for my own birthdays. My family never celebrated birthdays (except for when I turned 30 days old, 1 year old and 5 years old). Traditionally, Asians do not usually attach much importance to birthdays other than when a child turns 30 days old, 1 year old, and when a person turns 60. These birthdays were supposed to mark important milestones of a person’s life.
Of course times have changed and these days, Asians celebrate birthdays frequently. Me and my husband have always made sure our children enjoy their birthdays every year. But for my own birthdays, I still prefer to keep it low-key. Just a meal out and that’s enough for me.
Well this year was kinda different. Not by choice on my part. On the morning of my birthday, my little boy woke me up. He said I was not to enter the living room nor the kids’ bedroom for any reason, until I was given the go-ahead from them. My younger daughter then came into my room and asked me what would I like for breakfast, so she could make it for me. This was a first by the way. My kids have never asked to make breakfast for me before, ever.
I said I’d just like a glass of water please, as this is usually how I start the day. And I also didn’t want to trouble my younger daughter too much. I was certain she’d need help with getting the things down from the tall cupboards if she had to make breakfast cereal for me, and I’ll end up doing it anyway.
She proceeded to go out of my room and returned promptly with a glass of water for me. As I drank the water, she reminded me not to enter the living room nor their bedroom. Then she left to get on with whatever they were busy doing.
I stayed in bed with my son just chilling out and checking my phone for the latest news （I get all my news from online news sources these days… can’t remember when last I read an actual paper）. Not long after, the girls came in and told me the rooms were “ready”.
I went to the living room and… this was what I encountered.
The kids have, all by themselves, created their own buntings and hung them up high.
They made 3 buntings in total. My 11 year old daughter is pretty tall now and I suppose she must have hung the buntings up herself, standing on a chair.
It was quite creative how they made the buntings. They used paper triangles they had cut and decorated and pasted onto string.
They also used scraps of fabric they had cut into triangles and pasted onto string.
They also made a present for me. A present they’d made from whatever they had.
Inside the gift, I found 3 objects. 1 from each child.
– A mini Toblerone that my eldest bought with her own money (she’d bought a box of these at the supermarket last week with her own money, and she gave one to me here, although she would also occassionally offer everyone some of it after dinner).
– A paper chain necklace that my son made, with some help from his older sisters.
– And a little Jacqueline Wilson badge courtesy of my younger daughter. She’d picked it from her beloved badge collection (she has a thing for badges… she pins them onto the front of her coats and onto her backpacks).
And… my kids made up the IKEA POÄNG armchair we’ve had for ages, into a “special” chair just for me.
And before you wonder what that leopard print thingy is… well it was a gift from one of our elderly neighbours, who used to be a flamboyant photographer in the 60s. He gave it to us a few years ago. I remember back then, he kept emphasising the fact that it had cost him £100 brand new. I’m sure it’s not worth much anything now, but my kids love it and often use it to build dens and snuggle in. It’s made of a velvety fabric, and weighs a tonne.
And later on, the kids baked cupcakes from scratch and decorated it with squeezy tube chocolate and caramel icing. Kudos to my eldest daughter, who has become quite the competent cupcake baker. We have always baked together with her. But today, she wanted to and did it all by herself. She measured the ingredients out herself, guided the little ones through every step, and did the harder work when needed, for instance, when the cake mixture had to be folded in.
I’m pretty sure my husband too had a part to play in all this. That’d explain their hushed silences whenever I walked into them having a quiet conversation last week. The fact that my kids all did it by themselves while he was at work was just super though. I’m impressed!
Sometimes I get the feeling that mothering is a thankless task. Then when my kids do something like this for me on my birthday, it puts all my doubts to rest. Yes, of course my kids love me. Silly me!