It is my mothers birthday tomorrow. That is a vital fact for this post. It is my mothers 50th birthday and my father would do anythingto make her happy. He is possibly the sweetest, yet least predicitive and well organized man, I have ever known, but my mother deserves every bit of his loving attention. Therefore, I would like to keep them both happy.
Now, since I have moved out of this household, some things have changed, for me that is. No matter how much I love and appreciate them, I can never spend too much time in this house. I am no longer used to having someone telling me what and what not to do. I am not familiar with having ‘relatives’ around me at all times who can say whatever they feel like, without any real consequences. If I want to lay in bed until 14h in Edinburgh on a day I have nothing to do, it is not only accepted, it is encouraged. If i want to scratch a rash on my arm, I can do it without anyone telling me to go to the doctors. (From all the visits he’s sent me on I could supply a hospital with Cortisone)
But it is not like I’m not used to any responsibilities.
God no, I live with 4 boys!
But my father is a sweet man and it is my mothers 50th birthday. He knows she doesn’t enjoy large gatherings of people because it puts her on edge. She wants everyone to have a good time and cannot trust anyone to organize everything according to her set of rules (I can’t actually blame her for that… me and my sister follow my fathers regime of ‘rules are meant to be bent’).
But for her 50th birthday, he has spent months organizing for her 4 best friends coming to Paris to see her, he has thought of things for them to do, to eat, all that sort of thing. Nothing too big and nothing for her to do. Perfect.
That is what I thought the first time he told me about it all.
It is not until 2 days ago, I actually started questioning dad about what exactly he had in mind for mum. What sort of things were they going to do. Where were they going to go and most of all, what was expected of me and my little sister?
"On the night of her birthday, your mother, you, your sister and I are going to a beautiful tiny Italian restaurant somewhere in Paris. I have already made the reservations"
"Well, when we get home, her best friends will all be at our house. We will have a a drink all together and go to bed to get ready for the next day!"
"And then, I am going to drive the girls into the heart of Paris in a special Van I hired. We are going to find a beautiful little cafe to have a light french breakfast. Then I will drive them to another place where they can look around. Then we will drive somewhere else where they will have lunch somewhere, and then we will come pick you girls up from home and drive to a park where we will have a high Tea. After that, we will return home, and while mum and her friends relax, you and Maxime (my sister) will have prepared a BBQ for them..."
It sounded a little vague for me. My mother usually doesn’t enjoy walking around places she doesn’t know too much. Besides, for them to find ‘little cute cafe’s’ and ‘little cute restaurants’ to eat would probably proove harder than he thinks. But I put all that behind me because, whatever happens IN Paris stays IN Paris and that was my father’s responsibility.
What worried me more was the amount of food he expected me and my little sister to prepare. I asked him how much he had in mind. He said he’d write me down a list and leave me some money.
Now I don’t know how this works in normal families. Say, if you BBQ for about 8 people, I’d expect to buy maybe 30-50 euro worth of food? Maybe that’s unrealistic. Instead, he left me (18) and my baby sister (13) to prepare about 100 euro worth of food. That is for the high tea, the BBQ, I expect some breakfast the next morning.
1) I don’t know if we’ll be able to prepare all of it in time to please his scedule.
2) and if we do… when and where are we going to find the time and the other 10 people we’d need to eat it all?
Thankfully I like cooking, but preparing that many different meals (in his head, there are about 15 different types of meat he’d like perfectly prepared, side dishes, salads, vegetables, desserts, etc. etc.) in a space of maybe 4 to 6 hours (keeping in mind we have to go to the High Tea as well) causes me to worry just a little. And then there’s the cleaning. I HATE cleaning… But it’s my mothers birthday so we have to spoil her.
Oh, did I mention that on this glorious day, while they are all out in the sun-flooded streets of Paris, I get to celebrate MY birthday in the kitchen? Aren’t I just the luckiest?
But as I said, they are very sweet people and they deserve all they can get, but god am I going to be glad to return to Edinburgh!
Anyway, I will let you know how it went.
Lots of Love,