Easter Sunday dawned a very special day for my family in that it was also my mother’s 90th birthday. My sisters and I had racked our brains trying to think of a suitable present, but what can you get for a gentle, fit and independent lady who has had a full, exciting life and done much more than most of us would ever dream of doing. There was simply nothing she needed or wanted other than a quiet meal out with her daughters. Ha ha, not this year, Mum! My brother solved the dilemma by deciding to come over from Spain, where he lives, to help celebrate this grand occasion, so we agreed he would be our mum’s birthday surprise. She hadn’t seen him for several years now that her travelling abroad days are over and it is unlikely she will go to Spain again. Thus the plot was hatched.
Bob flew into Bristol airport on Good Friday, where my husband and I met him, an hour’s drive away. It was a beautiful morning. Rather than a boring, hectic drive across the city, we took him the scenic route where he could enjoy the views and spring daffodils and fresh greenery our country does so well at this season, scenes he hadn’t realised how much he missed. Saturday was wet, windy and depressing so we spent the day relaxing and catching up on all our news and gossip, until the early hours of Sunday morning. It was 2:30 am before we ventured upstairs to bed, only then realising the clocks had gone forward by an hour and it was really 3:30 am!
We set off at noon to drive to one of my sister’s home where we were having an informal, relaxed family get together. Everyone was already there so Dave and I went in and said our hellos etc before I called Mum out into the hallway, saying her birthday present was there and that it was too heavy for me to carry in. The look on her face when she saw my brother was priceless; we were all too emotional to take any photos. Once over the shock, the champagne was opened and glasses raised. Another surprise came with the arrival of my daughter and her two children, whom my mother hadn’t seen for some time. It was such a pity that one of my nephews and his wife and son – little George – couldn’t make the journey, they were well missed by everyone, particularly by Bob.
Much feasting, drinking, chatting and laughter ensued. Mum’s real present is to be a family photograph of all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered around her. One of my niece’s husband is a professional photographer so busily clicked away as we scrabbled over each other and squeezed up to get us all in – good job we’re a close family. We haven’t seen any of his photos yet but the best one will be blown up onto canvas for her, one Mum, and us, can treasure for years to come.
We left my brother with our mum so they could spend a few more days enjoying each other’s company before leaving for Spain again. Having spoken to Mum yesterday, she totally enjoyed her birthday, complete with several cakes and balloons, and was over the moon at seeing her only son again – a complete surprise.
And we all look forward to sharing many more birthdays with her.