I am doing a creative challenge and had two whole days to expand my ideas and let them take flight. Why am I surprised that it did not happen? First, there was the emotional trauma of the failed trip to the hairdressers yesterday and then there is the anticipated trauma of my mother’s birthday next week.
It is not that she will be traumatized, or difficult, but she has low ambition for her birthday. (That sounds like it has been translated from an Asian language: her name is Chi Chi, meaning low ambition for her birthday.) Anyway I asked what she wanted to do – a lunchtime meal out in a restaurant, perhaps? But she did not want to go anywhere. Her birthday is on a Saturday, so I am happy to drive her and my dad anywhere but she just wrinkled her nose at the offer.
A day later, she asked if perhaps a Chinese takeaway would be possible – which of course it would, especially given the cultural significance of her name. I offered again to drive them to one, but apparently my father’s name now translates as, ‘difficult to get out of pajamas before lunchtime’ so I found a local restaurant where I could pick up a meal and sent the link to the menu through for approval.
She has also told me that she does not want a cake and bought her own present from me a couple of weeks ago when a friend, who does a roaring trade in a mate’s handmade jewellery arrived with a boxful of the stuff.
So my entire contribution to my mother’s birthday will be to pick up a Chinese takeaway and help her and my dad eat it.
When we were kids, it was always my dad who was impossible to buy for, while my mother was easy. But at some point she tired of bubble bath, and books on military history appeared everywhere and things have been reversed ever since. I went out this afternoon to see if there was anything else I could see that she might like, but it is Mother’s Day soon in Australia and the shops were crammed with rubbish which seemed specifically designed to condem all mothers to either kitchens for the rest of their lives, or fleecy couture.
There are a few things I know my mother would like for her birthday but they are beyond my power to provide – a cuddle with her only grandchild, who lives on the other side of the country, a day without pain, which robs her of the ability to walk or stand for more than ten minutes without a rest. If I had some access to the gadgets of Star Trek both these would be possible, but alas I am no Kirk.
‘How will you keep the meal warm?’ She asked after realising the restaurant is around fifteen minutes’ drive from their house.
‘I will use a foil-lined bag,’ I answered, ‘and put a hot water bottle in it.’
Yup, that’ll be me Star Trekking my way across the suburbs of Western Australia, warp factor five.
‘I will put the plates in the oven, ready,’ she said, ‘so they will be hot. I may be on Skype talking to your brother and the baby when you get here, so just let yourself in,’
Turns out my mother is more Captain Kirk than I am.