Excited, beyond levels that normal measuring instruments would find hard to measure, Florence and Martha have been galloping through a recent spate of birthday celebrations.
My 39th last month – pic above – was ushered in with some chocolate and raspberry cup cakes. Martha’s 3rd – last Friday – was awarded double cupcake supplies: first, for a family trip to school and some mid-morning songs and card opening, and second, for an end of the day fancy dress party in Lou’s apartment, where the luminous green cakes were complimented by that reliable choice favourite – the humble pizza.
As you can tell from the photos below, at both events, Martha (playing the part of the Disney movie Frozen’s Anna in the afternoon) was quite “up” for sweet treats, celebrating, and having the day’s limelight opportunities shifted in her direction:
Earlier in the week, I blogged over on the sister channel to this one – http://www.definitelymaybe.com – about ‘birthday times’ as well. Tuesday would have been my Grandpa’s 99th birthday, himself someone who I remember was always up for a party. A lawn bowls fanatic, Mum once made him a birthday cake depicting a bowling green, and I can recall the picture of him blowing out the candles, with my brother and I watching on.
The blog examined the idea of using birthdays to inject a dose of carpe diem into one’s day – a jolt of which I have always felt to be a healthy deviation from whatever other hum-drum is occupying the thoughts.
This weekend, that sentiment lingers on, and made me wonder to what extent you need to self-medicate to keep some kind of “seize the day” spirit switched on permanently? Can, eventually, truly living in the seconds and minutes that make up your day become who you are, and not who you keep having to remind yourself it would be nice to be?
It is not a new observation, by any stretch of the imagination, but life through the eyes of children offers up an example of how this intuition to live in these moments comes all too naturally to youngsters.
The other morning, following the ritual 5:30am wake up that Florence and Martha have perfected (more reliable than an alarm clock, I kid you not) I relinquished responsibility for deciding on pre-breakfast activities and they unanimously voted in favour of hide-and-seek. Martha has moved on with hide-and-seek to a level of actually staying hidden. What lets her down is that when you pretend to scour the room talking out loud and offering up lines like, “I wonder if she is behind the curtain?” Martha will helpfully shout out from inside the cupboard, “No, I’m in here, Daddy!”
The revelry undertaken to pursue each hide-and-seek episode is fully committed to in high spirits and with genuine excitement. The girls would play hide-and-seek all day if they could.
Being five or three years old has its draw-backs, of course. Not being able to reach to the top of your wardrobe to get a dress down. Not being a key decision maker in the house on issues relating to bedtime, the unruly state of one’s bedroom, and just how many scoops of ice cream after dinner is appropriate (or, as I type this, who is ultimately in control of the family iPad) – life as a youngster can be a constant grab for new in-house rights and responsibilities, in the face of a seemingly merciless and dictatorial parent, hell-bent on telling you that eating sweets before bedtime is “bad” whilst simultaneously gulping down a glass of Coke right in front of you.
In spite of such drawbacks, the energy and pursuit of good times and good experiences adopted by Florence and Martha from sunrise to sunset stands, for me at least, as a daily reminder to make the most of my time as an adult, wandering about as I do on this fragile planet, for the limited time that I have.
With the childhood certainties of life, that once provided a bubble of subconscious safety and security, now removed, it seems to me that the old adage of “youth being wasted on the young” is both a reality as well as an opportunity.
An opportunity to seize a moment, to embrace your reality, to find yourself sat in your wardrobe sniggering as your kids search for you under the bed.
Or, alternatively, and in exercising my right as author, an opportunity to name this post “Cake or Death?” knowing that throughout writing it I was always going to conclude, for posterity, and for my kids to hopefully one day enjoy too, Eddie Izzard on his finest of form. Enjoy!