We met in secret.
“I’ve called this meeting to discuss a very important day which is coming up,” I whispered to the kids.
We were huddled in their bedroom with the door shut and only torches for light. This was for dramatic effect as Tracey had gone to see a neighbour and wasn’t even in the house.
“Your birthday?” asked Miss6.
“Not that important,” I assured her: although I was very pleased it was first cab off the rank. Pleased, but not necessarily surprised – I’d been working on instilling the superior importance of my birthday for years.
“Easter?” she tried.
Clearly more work needed on my part – Fathers Day should have been her second call.
“We’ve just had Easter,” I told her. “Still just once a year. And it’s not Christmas either.”
Miss3, who looked like she was about to say something closed her mouth again.
There was silence. No doubt they were each trying to remember how long ago their own birthdays were.
“I’ll give you a hint,” I told them. “It’s nothing to do with anyone’s birthday.”
“Friday?” someone suggested. It may have been Master8. He loves Fridays because he can play his DS when he comes home from school.
“It’s a day to celebrate how wonderful one of your parents are and we spoil them and give them presents.”
“Do you want beer, Dad?” asked Miss9. She asked it in a way which was kind of accusing. She gets more like her mum every day.
“Yes. But this isn’t about me.” I didn’t know how long I had before Tracey came back so I thought I’d cut to the chase. “It’s Mothers Day on Sunday.”
“Yeah,” said Master8. “We know.”
“Didn’t you know that, Dad?” asked Miss6.
“We’ve been making things at school,” continued Master8.
With much effort I refrained from going into why, if they all knew it was coming up, no one thought to mention a few seconds ago.
“Well, what we have to discuss is what to give mum for a present.”
“I’ve already got mine,” said Miss6. “I’m making a book.”
“And I’m knitting a scarf, gloves and a jumper,” said Miss9. Quite an achievement considering she only took up knitting on Saturday.
“There’s not a lot of time between now and Mothers Day,” I told her. “You might want to focus on just one of those items.”
She nodded. “I think I’ll do the scarf then,” she said. Great decision. Arms and fingers can be tricky.
All the kids informed me they had their presents organised – which is great because I can take credit for this on Sunday morning – but I did think perhaps Tracey might like something less…personal, shall we say?…when she wakes up.
“I’m not as crafty as you guys,” I told my kids. “So I’m going to buy something from the shop for Mummy. Any ideas what I should get her?”
“A car,” said Master8. “She thinks the one we have is crappy.”
I agreed with the assessment of our car, if not the suggestion for a present. “Maybe something a little smaller.’
“A boat!” said Miss6.
“A diamond necklace.”
Tracey and I don’t go for big presents for each other. If we’re spending big money we’d rather just get what we want when we need it.
In the end the kids and I agreed on a magazine and breakfast in bed, and so Tracey could have a little extra lie in time I decided the kids and I should sneak out of the house and go fetch McDonalds pancakes for her.
Now all we had to do was find out which magazine to buy. This was going to require some trickery – some secret agent kind of trickery.
Agent Miss9 was chosen because she had the perfect cover – her mother had recently purchased a kids’ magazine for her when they went shopping.
“You need to walk up to Mum, just casual like, reading that magazine she bought you last week,” I told her. “Then just happen to ask her what magazine she likes.”
The perfect plan.
“Got it!” said Miss9. She was a super keen agent too. She staked out the front door like a pro, peeking through the glass, waiting for her mum to return. And she didn’t waiver from her mission for a second – not when I called for teeth to be brushed or kids to get into beds or anything. Yep, it was a dangerous mission alright.
Finally, her mother returned home.
“What magazine do you want?” she asked excitedly as soon as Tracey had one foot in the door.
“Better Homes & Gardens,” Tracey answered her with a grin. “Only tell your father they only come in subscriptions at this time of the year.”
Sure they do. But in that case beer only comes in cartons around my birthday.
After all, it is the most important day of the year. Just ask Miss6.
Whatever your plans this weekend I hope you all have a lovely time and the Mother Lovin’ Fairy Godfather finds you worthy of spoilage. For his sake.
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