It is my ‘non birthday / I’ve given up on getting older’ weekend. I’m rapidly approaching one of those great landmarks of life and I haven’t quite figured out how to use the brakes yet. In real life, I can’t actually drive backwards. I’m not joking … I can rev up to fifth gear in record time in a car ( ask my father or the couple of friends who have survived after witnessing this first hand) , but ask me to drive backwards & you’re literally putting your life in danger . Is my internal GPS trying to tell me something ??
My husband has taken the weekend off (that’s a big deal, it doesn’t happen often) to:
a) Show some moral support.
b) Enjoy the fact that for the next few months I’m the same age as him & can’t call him an old perv for a while.
c) Laugh at my misery ….?
Usually, when the opportunity to pretend to be a regular family presents itself, we try to cram as much ‘normal family’ stuff into our couple of days as possible. I have a mental list of a million and one things I promise myself we will get around to doing, when Daddy has the weekend off or when Mammy’s four day week –sticks to being a four day week….
As it is, trying to find the balance between what an expat family ‘normal’ weekend is, compared to a French family ‘normal’ weekend, is challenging enough to begin with.
Ice skating , baking complicated things like macaroons ( don’t be impressed , I wouldn’t know a macaroon recipe if it jumped up & hit me in the face … YET), the cirque d’hiver , afternoon movie sessions , maybe even a massage pour deux, were all options on the cards for this long overdue family weekend off ….
Until we realized that all / most of our babysitters have either been nabbed for weekend shift-work by the bars we work for or, (this is unbelievable yet totally true) ….. become film stars. I will save the details on the movie industry stuff for when the latest video clip is available for public viewing …..!
Luckily , I have a high flying friend who spends the better part of her week clocking up air –miles and checking the quality of : the service in business class / the comfort levels of the ensuite’s in 5 star hotels in Dubai and lots of other exotic things that only the favored few get to appreciate in their lifetime. Her idea of a great Friday night involved nothing more than chilling out in front of some repeat cable shows with dodgy voice over’s and two children who promised to let her do so in peace. How cool is she?
So out we went to celebrate the fact that from now on, I’m officially only a year older twice a decade. Not only that but I got to roll lazily out of bed at 11am the following morning , to a breakfast of freshly baked pain au chocolate and some sly glugs of milk from the carton when no-one was looking.( I would kill my kids for doing the same … but it’s my non party & I’ll drink from the carton if I want to )
Later the same afternoon, our son off on a play date , our daughter pre-occupied by the world’s most fantastic invention ( Hama bead patterns … you won’t see or hear your kids for days), my husband got stuck into sorting through his three million MP3 music files…
The next thing I knew, I was having a ball, head banging to Nirvana and making dodgy 80’s dance moves round our sitting room to all sorts of gems from my teen years. Purple rain came on and he asked me had I seen the film.
That sent me right back to a pot-holey country road, cycling with a gang of over excited girlfriends to the village of Curragha (Pronounced, COOR- A-HA)… where a friend of a friend, whose parents were out for the day, was showing some dodgy movie that involved the artist formerly known as Prince. Somewhere on another back road to the same venue was a car (possibly even a stolen tractor) full of the lads from our village. The excitement was tangible… You could actually smell the teen spirit. I remember being a bit freaked out by the idea that this might actually be a porn movie … but was too afraid to ask, so kept pedaling as fast as I could. I wasn’t missing this for the world … a possibly taboo movie in a room full of boys & dangerous noise. Sean Kelly & Stephen Roche would have had a hard time catching us.
I didn’t actually see much of the movie. I was too distracted by the number of drop dead gorgeous lads in the room , trying to act cool or not make loud-snorty-laughy noises in front of them , and of course how uber-cool this girl who was having the movie afternoon was. She didn’t seem in the least bit distracted by any of it. I also spent a lot of time in the garden, choking on borrowed cigarettes and trying to seem as aloof as our hostess.
My husband and I fell about the place laughing at our shared dodgy Prince experiences. We realized half way through the album that we were supposed to have picked our son up half an hour earlier. There was nothing to give the kids for dinner and there had been no ice skating / macaroon making/ winter circus visits or anything else done that day.
I had the best non birthday ever … for a few hours my husband made me forget my obsession with getting older ,with being organized or just being a working mother and the responsibilities that go with it. I was 16 all over again.
Love is……. dancing to purple rain at a non birthday party and take- away pizza for dinner.