Last night, I opened the window wide, slid between the sheets and listened to the free concert outside. Midwife toads, marsh frogs, owls and nightingales had combined their efforts for the perfect lullaby. A gentle breeze blew across the room. I was almost expecting a frog with a banjo to appear on the windowsill and start crooning something corny out of Disney. It wasn’t going to happen, but I fell asleep feeling privileged, imagining my lazy Mother’s Day lie-in and almond croissant the following morning.
I was rudely ripped from my slumbers by the sound of blaring car horns nine hours later. Just as I had dragged my eyelids open, an unknown voice with a strong provençal accent yelled through the window: “And what does he say, Pascal? He says ung, deux, trois, quatre, cinq-euh, six, testing!” We were then treated to Madonna at high volume.
For immediate safe haven, I had a choice between P.F’s armpit or underneath my pillow. Given the high temperatures we’d had overnight, I took the second option, and dived under the pillow.
In my poetic thoughts about my mini-paradise the night before, I had forgotten one small detail: the village sports ground opposite our house. Today appears to be football tournament day, which means free, loud music from 8 till 5 non-stop. P.F prodded my arm. “Morning! Happy Mother’s Day!”
“Bloody football players”, I grouched. ”Do they know that A) it’s Sunday and B) it’s Mother’s day? Pascal and his bunch of pals had better bog off and play ball somewhere else before I go over there in my PJ’s and pull the plug on their party”.
The bedroom door burst open, and two beaming, underwear-clad offspring leapt onto my bed. “Happy mother’s day. When can we give you our presents?” Then I heard the sound of accelerating dog claws on the floor, and 28 kg of panting, smelly, over-enthusiastic Golden Retriever landed on me. The bed was still standing, goodness knows how. Life could definitely be worse, and Pascal the provençal footy fanatic was forgiven.
One almond croissant later, I was given my mother’s day gifts. My kids have grown up after the probatory period of school-made pasta necklaces and hand-decorated eggcups, and I was impatient to see whether they had bought or created. I was thrilled to see that Bigfoot had bought me three droopy tomato plants for the tender beginnings of my vegetable plot. His brother had carefully painted me the frog that may play banjo on my windowsill some day, and my daughter had painted a flowerpot and planted a wilting begonia inside it. A small orange paper, folded carefully, was put in a dish of water and unfolded to reveal a message: “I love you forever”. I am a very lucky mum, and now have the difficult mission of keeping the plants alive: I am as successful at gardening as King Kong would be at needlepoint embroidery.
As for P.F, he gallantly stepped in to take his daughter to sport, and returned shortly after with his gift: a jubilating, dancing Bigfoot, a long face and a fine for ignoring a stop sign on his way home. You’ve got to love the guy. Originality has always been his forte.