It is never easy being a mother. It is even less easy being a mother when you’re unwell and it’s your daughter’s fourth birthday party and you’ve had to invite the entire class of 20 kids because your daughter was invited to all of their parties and she really really really wants to have all her friends there.
And although you limited your older kids’ parties to ten guests, she is your youngest child and you spoil her rotten and all limits have been thrown out the window.
I woke up on Thursday morning with a pounding head, aching, blocked ears and a worrying degree of vertigo. The nice doctor helpfully reassured me that I didn’t have a brain tumour, but said that I did have post-viral fluid behind my ears which would take up to a week to dissipate. What I needed, she told me, was bed rest.
“But I have my daughter’s birthday party on Sunday,” I said.
“Can someone help you?” she asked. “What about your husband?”
“He’ll help, but he works about seventy five hours a week, and he isn’t that great at organising parties,” I said. Admittedly, he had offered to buy some bread and a ‘cheese wheel’, but I wasn’t quite sure what a ‘cheese wheel’ was.
“What about your mum?” the doctor asked.
“She’d help, but she’s having an operation on her knee tomorrow and will be on crutches for about a fortnight,” I said.
“I’d recommend drugs,” the doctor said. Or at least, that’s what I think I heard.
I spent Thursday and Friday in bed, but the party loomed, and no amount of sleep would get that fairy bread to make itself. Happily my mother had baded the cake before her surgery. Unhappily, I hadn’t made anything else.
“I need you to help get the party ready for tomorrow,” I told my husband on Saturday. “I’m sick.”
“I have to work,” he said.
“But that won’t help get the party ready!”
“No, but it also won’t help if we go broke because I don’t finish this job.”
I dropped the kids at my parents’ house, where my father could look after them and my mother could wheel herself around on an office chair. I dragged myself to the supermarket, and bought pre-made cupcakes, pre-made biscuits, pre-made banana bread, pre-made dips and pre-made lollies (as opposed to ‘handmade lollies’, which admittedly very few people make these days). I then picked up the kids, returned home, and lay on the couch feeling tragic until my husband came home with pizza.
Thankfully, on Sunday, I woke up feeling much better. The kids helped me set up the party, the mermaid entertainer showed up, and no-one seemed to care that my perfectly uniform biscuits and cupcakes were quite clearly from the shops, and not from my oven.
As for my husband, he was tremendously helpful. He spent an entire hour cleaning the pool, and though it wasn’t a pool party, and no-one looked at the pool anyway, I really did appreciate it.
Twitter – http://twitter.com/KerriSackville