Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Surprise! and Survive!

At a friend's surprise birthday party on Saturday night I had a revelation - there are few problems that can't be softened by a glass of champers, doing the whoo whoo dance and karaoke rendition of "I Will Survive."

And this from me, a person who enters every karaoke party with the mantra: "Don't let me sing, not going to sing."

The surprise party was a welcome break from days and nights of vacillating between filling out forms and not (but thinking about them anyway.) Responding to emails and not (but thinking....) This year our four kids are at three different schools and it's been an even louder blasting of Back-To-School paperwork, emails about sports teams, carpools, after-school activities, evening meetings and constant, constant pleas for volunteers.  You respond - more work and more driving. You don't respond - guilt, guilt, guilt.

Amidst this, two other birthdays; Kevin's and Harley's.  Since Harley was born 14 years ago, it's been a family tradition that Kevin's birthday passed without fuss. (Okay I always forget.) But this year - surprise! - I had nothing planned for Harley either. Pretty shameful as Harley always orders gifts and makes cards for others.  I was relying on the potluck dinner after his football practise where all his teammates sang him Happy Birthday. "Wasn't that a lovely dinner, Harley? Nice birthday treat for you!" The next night my friend Gloria and her family took him to Fentons for ice-cream where the whole room sang him Happy Birthday again.

Harley at Fentons
Kevin's birthday last night. Surprise - again we were rescued us from another cake-less night.  All the kids and I had to do was clean up and friends arrived with chillybins packed with drinks and dinner: Mike's skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, fresh corn, Sandy with Veuve,  her mustard gourmet mac'n'cheese, heirloom tomatoes and peach pie.

Cy and Tallulah getting the house ready
Tallulah's card for Kevin
Between the birthdays, the emails keep coming, twisting me into knots of indecision. West African dancing, percussion lessons for Tallulah, 10?  Fantastic! I spent a week mulling over which class she would love the most, could she handle two things after school, how on earth could I pick her up? I left it so long the classes were full or cancelled. "Mum, I didn't want to do it anyway" Tallulah confessed: "soccer is enough for me."

I just emailed another parent and a refreshing auto-reply came back: "I have sworn off email for the time being." That got me thinking - what would happen if I didn't look at my emails? I suspect... I will survive. With a little help from my friends.

Tallulah waves goodbye


  1. You'll survive if you don't answer any e-mail. Or send any more e-mail. Or leave your blog untouched for a while.
    You'll probably be cut off several Christmas party lists, but you'll survive. You'll get by with a little help from your friends, and peculiar comments from a Bear. (Think about it; now many people get e-mail from a Bear?)

  2. 3 different schools? I empathise. Got things taped here. My eldest goes on the school bus and my youngest gets himself to school by foot. And back.

    It makes a HUGE difference to one's day!

  3. I know what it is like running in different directions all day!!Sometimes you just want to hop off the hamster wheel and do nothing!!

  4. As a mother of only one child, you have my utmost respect. I don't know how you juggle those balls!

  5. I didn't know you could do that! - Genius. I might try. Hang in there, the hectic holidays are just around the corner and are sure to make back to school feel like a cake walk.

  6. Happy birthday to everyone! :) I imagine how challenging the beginning of the school year has been. I think you are allowed to ignore your emails, just for a little while at least. :)

  7. Wow I can't even imagine how much work that entails. A friend of mine has 4 kids back at school and she told me that she was pulling her hair out over all the forms she had to fill out. I had no idea! Hope you find some quiet time soon :)

    And happy bday to them Kevin & Harley! xoxo

  8. Happy birthday to everyone! Love the pictures!!

    I don't know how you manage with 3 kids back to school because I am getting crazy with only one! I was so busy these days that I think is better to go to work instead of staying home...

    Hope you'll have a nice and quiet time for yourself pretty soon!!


  9. I'm so glad to read this, I was too busy to visit the blog world for the last 3 days and had such guilt! I love your birthday stories--that photo from Fenton's is such a blast from the past--helped me to put on that freshman 10...more guilt. Anyway--glad you had a wonderful celebration for your guys and even gladder that Tallulah doesn't have to take percussion and african dance lessons!

    xo Mary Jo

  10. I go for days sometimes without checking my email.

  11. oh boy. I totally get it. I'm right there with ya. Hence my quick speed reading of posts and this very short comment :).

  12. Sometimes we realise the world doesnt stop if we do for 5! I have always belted it out to i will survive from nightclubs in the 80' till karoake today - sometimes i really thing i shouldnt! x

  13. 3 different schools? are you super mom? how in the world are you going to pull that off?

  14. Mine were once at two different schools in opposite directions and too young to travel alone. It was a total nightmare and term dates and holidays never matched up either. I like the idea of giving up email but fear the addiction would be too strong to resist...!

  15. You had me at Veuve!

    Hmmm, the thought of turning on an auto-reply is quite intriguing. I haven't done it since my working days. But why or why don't I give myself a break?!? I recently dropped our home phone for much the same reason -- all the calls were solicitations. Emails are much the same way. All my good friends know to call my cell or text. You've got me thinking . . .

  16. Move over Gloria Gaynor...after a couple of glasses of The Widow it's 'Dancing Queen' all the way for me!

  17. I may need to move into Fenton's - that sundae looks divine! And Tallulah's card is have an artist on your hands! :)

  18. not reading emails..I couldn't do it...I am SO addicted...its horrible really. I suppose people would just have to actually pick up the phone and call eachother....
    The world of texting and emailing....I often wonder what I did before??? Crazy how much has changed.

  19. Today seemed like that day for me!! I had to pick up this one here, drop this one off here, drive husband to work to get his car there! It was a crazy day! Happy Birthday to your husband and son! Thats so sweet that the entire room sang to him, and what a sweet and beautiful card from your daughter to her dad!

    I have four different email accounts!! One for junk that I sign up for, one for family and friends, and two for business!!


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