So, yesterday was my birthday. Anyone who has an early January birthday will tell you it's a difficult time to have a birthday because you kind of get merged into Christmas. Folk either forget it, or you get an afterthought. Sometimes, you get joint Christmas and birthday presents. In my family, because I am so far from the rest of them away down south, they tend to send something with the Christmas presents - because husband often works over the Christmas period, making it difficult to go down there - and anyway, its easier to be here for Christmas.
This year was no different. My mum packed up the presents and posted them off to me, much as I had done the same. They arrived, thankfully without seemingly any interference from courier companies - as we had a year where my parcel of presents arrived at my Mum's opened but all presents thankfully intact. We checked the box straight away and because the children were excited about presents, we had to take them all out and sort them to put them under the Christmas tree. I saw some cards and I thought I put at least one saying birthday to one side. I stress the thought bit.
Anyway, Christmas came around and when we were opening presents, we found a couple of birthday cards which I gave to my husband to put to one side for him to give back to me on the day.
The morning of my birthday dawns. The children get up with Daddy and prepare breakfast in bed for me and they arrive in my room with presents and cards. After opening a few, I notice there was no card in my mother's distinctive handwriting. "Where's Mum's card?" I said. Husband looks blank and tells me they were all the cards he had been given. As she normally sends me a voucher in a card, this is a bit worrying.
We decide that perhaps it's fallen down the back of a chair somewhere. After the children had been deposited at school, husband has a look and comes to tell me we can't see it. So, we set about looking. We pull out all the furniture, and find things that have fallen down the back of the sofas. We at least know where half the pens in the house have gone, and discover things like the missing camera case and a receipt I need. We turn everything upside down.
Husband suggests I ask her whether she sent anything to me. I tell him I can't possibly do that as she'll go mad. It is something she gets very touchy about, as she frequently reminds people that once, when we were children, some money got thrown away with the wrapping paper one Christmas. Now, we'd been careful as we could over Christmas to catch all the vouchers and cards we thought but the doubt was placed in my mind that perhaps we'd thrown it out.
We carried on looking but it was fruitless, and anyway, I needed to get ready to go out for lunch. At the back of my mind, I knew that my mother would inevitably ring at some point. I decided I had better say thanks for the present anyway and disguise our apparent incompetence. I would much rather do that than suffer my ear being bent for losing it. (If you were one of my sisters, you'd understand).
And inevitably, whilst I was getting ready and husband disappeared for a shower, the phone rang and I saw it was her number. The conversation went a bit like this.
"Hello, happy birthday."
"Did you get some nice presents?"
"Yes, thanks. And thanks for yours."
"What did I get you?"
"Er, what? Um... vouchers?"
"Oh good, I couldn't remember what I'd given you or even if I'd put it in the parcel. My operation in November threw out my Christmas shopping this year."
Damn. Oh well...