they came, they partied
A‘squeal’ of noisy, excited seven-yearolds has formed a squirmy line beside me. It’s our granddaughter’s birthday and Audrey has given me the job of painting her friends’ fingernails.
Tiny bottles of pink, purple, green, turquoise and glow-in-the-dark red nail polish are lined up on the table.
“One red finger, one purple finger, one pink finger, one green finger and one blue finger please,” said my first customer.
It’s like being in a Broadway production of Little Orphan Annie. Little girls, little girls everywhere! Little girls in the cubby house, little girls jumping on the trampoline, little girls playing ‘chasies’ in the garden, little girls sneakily dipping fingers into the thick pink icing on the giant birthday cupcake.
I see old-fashioned birthday games are still going strong. They’re playing ‘Where’s your room so we can mess it up’, ‘Pass the Parcel R-E-A-L-L-Y slowly’ and that old favourite, ‘Let’s jump on your mum and dad’s bed until someone really gets hurt!’
The McDermotts are merry-makers. Few life events get past us without a slap-up party. A kind person once described our gatherings as “lively”. A neighbour said they were badly organised riots.
But by the time Ruff Red (the last of our five kids) was in his late teens the MOTH (Man Of The House) and I believed we’d nailed the partyplanning thing. People said we were legends. Our kids said we were crabby worrywarts quibbling over the cost of kegs and security guards. I was the only mother they knew with the police on speed dial.
At one of Ruff Red’s last ‘gatherings’ (that’s what you call 300 people running amok in the back garden) the rain was torrential and the marquee collapsed but everybody kept dancing and shouting into their mobile phones.
“They’re telling more people where we live,” the MOTH said grimly.
The amateur sound system blew the house lights. The party roared on in the dark. The police duly arrived and took cover in the family room with the rest of us. We peered through the windows at what looked like the seventh circle of hell.
“They are having so much fun,” one copper sighed enviously.
A few years and 15 parties later, we moved house. Our neighbours formed a guard of honour down the driveway. It was such a lovely gesture. I remember giving an embarrassed royal wave.
“They just want to be sure we’re really leaving and taking the kids with us!” said the MOTH, waving out his side.
This year I made some New Year’s resolutions and hope to keep one or two for at least a month.
1. Walk for an hour every morning. Buy a croissant and coffee to offset possible weight loss.
2. Ditch my oversized handbag.
I don’t need to take a cut lunch, an umbrella and my last will and testament everywhere I go.
3. Make sure everybody in the family is happy all the time. It’s the least
I can do.
4. Learn to dance before it’s too late. The MOTH says four resolutions are too many. Last year he made only two – to drink better wine and go to the gym.
“I kept both,” he says proudly. “Except the one about the gym.” AWW