Last Sunday was Caitlin’s 16th birthday. We couldn’t quite believe that it was already 16 years since I waddled into the hospital ten days overdue and completely, utterly fed-up. Induction day couldn’t come quick enough at the time – the summer that year was experiencing a terrific heatwave and keeping cool was a feat in itself. Towards the end of the pregnancy I would wake unable to sleep because of the heat and discomfort so I would run myself a cold bath at 2am and wallow like a huge, fat whale.
She was originally due on Friday 13th but was finally born on the 23rd. Not long after she was born I began to haemorrhage due to some of the placenta being left behind. It was an eventful day and one we call her ‘Sorry-I-tried-to-kill-you-Mum’ day. She prefers to call it her birthday.
Cait is not one for spending money unnecessarily – not even other people’s money, would you believe? We asked her time and time again what she would like and her answer was always the same, she wanted memories, not things. Her reasoning was that she already had what she needed and there was nothing tangible that she wanted at the moment so asking for stuff she didn’t really want would only be a waste of money. And if there is one thing Cait doesn’t like to do, it’s to waste money. The only thing she did want to do was to see more of the world; a short break Rome again perhaps, or maybe a couple of days in Athens.
So her birthday arrived and despite her claims that she didn’t need anything, we thought differently.
Everyone bar the two eldest gathered on the sofa and prepared themselves for the gift-unwrapping extravanganza. How exciting!
First gift first! Whatever could it be? Oh it’s… socks. No ordinary socks, mind! Oh no! Merino socks. For keeping your feet snug and warm when it’s cold. What more could a girl want on her 16th birthday?!
How about TWO pairs of merino socks?! Oh yes, what a day!
Present number three has got to be an improvement. Oh wow! It’s a base shirt for keeping you snug and warm when it’s cold! She looks thrilled, doesn’t she? What do you mean no?
Okay, we will try again. Here it goes…
It’s another base shirt! Happy now? No?
Okay, one more try…
Base shirt number three! Come on! Who wouldn’t be thrilled?! Well, her siblings clearly are.
These three in particular seem rather smug about Cait’s naff gifts. Your turn will come, boys. It will come.
Okay, enough with the joke presents.
Or maybe not.
It’s an Olaf book! You know Olaf – the Frozen snowman from the place that’s cold and snowy. Recognise a theme yet?
No, neither did Cait.
“Please let this be a nice gift. Please let this be a nice gift.”
“A waterproof coat. Seriously?”
“Just don’t expect a decent retirement home when you need one. Which, I’ll remind you, is coming soon.”
Not impressed, eh? Alright. How about the BIGGIE?
This is the BEST PRESENT EVER!
You’ll love it!
It’s… it’s… it’s…
ICE CUBE TRAYS! OH YES!
And see how generous we are? There are two there, not just one!
No need to thank us.
Okay, sit down please, everyone. We have something to tell you.
The ice cube trays represent something. And no, Cait. The clothes aren’t for our camping trip through Europe next year. Even though we’ve never camped before. But that’s another story…
You’re going to ICELAND to visit the geysers and go whale watching and hopefully (oh please, please, please!) see the Northern Lights!
(Ha! at all you boys who looked so smug earlier. Not so smug now, are you?!)
You wanted memories, you’ve got them.
Happy Birthday, sweet sixteen!