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Best and worst birthday presents part 2

With all the talk within the church about birthdays recently we thought what better time than now to ask staff members what were the best and worst birthday presents they’ve received. Here’s Dianne with her memories. 

The best

My best present memory is an easy one which even now brings a smile to my face.

Here’s the background: my husband and I had two rambunctious young kids and a little one who woke up several times during the night.

As none of the children could bear to waste any daylight hours in sleep, my husband and I were always up with the sun, doling out Weetabix and Vegemite toast like the sleep-deprived zombies we so closely resembled.

On the morning of my birthday I woke to silence. The sun streamed in through the window, signalling that dawn was long past. I felt rested, calm. A new woman. I was alone in the house.

And after I had had a shower in uninterrupted solitude and a hot cup of coffee, the family came home. The children were squealing with excitement and happiness at the hitherto forbidden treat of eating breakfast at a fast-food place, and being allowed to play in the playground for as long as they liked.

In those dawn hours my husband had quietly rounded everyone up, got them dressed and left me to sleep. He looked a bit tired so I gave him some of the hot coffee even though it was lukewarm by then.

Sleep. The best present ever.

The worst

My kids still tease me about this present, and it all started with me trying to do the right thing. We were out shopping—my mother, my daughter and I. It’s great to be together, and as the woman in the middle generation I am especially aware of these precious mother/daughter/grandmother moments.

When we are out on a girls’ morning I like to keep the conversational wheels greased. I mention this because it is important background to how the great birthday present debacle unfolded.

So picture this: my daughter is decorating her new apartment, so we wander into an art shop speculating about what we would choose if we had the budget. Someone (I will always swear black and blue that it wasn’t me) spots a series of paintings of fish, brightly coloured oils depicting … fish.

The discussion is lively, and we all admire the paintings. Like a good daughter/mother, I keep the conversation jolly and light. We leave the shop.

Months pass. My birthday approaches, and I hear on the family grapevine that my mother has found a wonderful present for which everyone in the extended family must contribute. I imagine a designer jacket, RM Williams boots …

Everyone gathers for my birthday. Even my husband has been approached as well as all my children. This is my sole birthday gift from everyone until the happy day rocks around again in 365 days’ time. I grow a little apprehensive, but figure I can probably swap it at Myers.

You’ve guessed of course, but I had no idea until in front of my relatives, all keenly awaiting my delight and surprise, I was handed the wrapped square object.

Yup, a fish painting. Worst present ever.

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