It’s half-term break, and it feels like all I’ve done is play Top Trumps (the Harry Potter edition), a card game so dull and pointless that I am seriously considering paying my kids not to play with me anymore.
“You’re so boring,” my 7-year old says. “You never play with me.”
I take a few deep breaths so as not to scream out loud, “I’ve been playing with you all week for f-s sake!”
Her older sister is currently hooked on Rubik’s Race, a two-player game based on Rubik’s cube, and I’d probably rejoice if it weren’t for the fact she’s forever badgering me to play, knowing perfectly well that she’s going to win each time.
Four days into the half-term break I’m so desperate for time alone that I practically force my kids to watch Netflix.
Half-term conveniently coincides with one of the most contrived days of the year, Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, everyone in my family except me takes this ‘Hallmark holiday’ very seriously. The bigger the card, the bigger the love, seems to be the rule, so this year I’ve gone out of my way to find a BIG card for my husband.
What I haven’t thought of, however, is buying Valentine’s cards for my daughters. Why would I? When my 7-year old realises this unforgivable omission on my part, she storms off to her room, shouting, “you don’t love me!” Thankfully, my husband has a much better grasp on the etiquette of card giving and has bought cards for the children, which he graciously let me share.
Perhaps it’s something to do with my Scandinavian roots, but I’ve never been a very touchy-feely kind of person, and I’ve never quite understood the British tradition of handing out cards to people at every imaginable opportunity. By all means send a card to someone for their birthday, or even at Christmas if you must, but what’s the point of handing someone a card when you’re with them already?
Ever so eco-minded, my daughters don’t buy ready-made cards these days, they make them from scratch, which is lovely, except home-made cards can’t in all consciousness be thrown in the bin after a week, can they?
For years, I never had a single Valentine’s Card from anyone; yesterday I received four. Two handmade ones from my daughters, a heartfelt one from my husband – and a hand-delivered card, addressed to me personally, from the Liberal Democrats.
I’ve never voted Lib Dem; in truth, I’ve never voted in the UK at all. Since I don’t hold a British passport, I’m barred from voting in national elections although I pay taxes here; as a London resident, however, I’m eligible to vote in local elections, although I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never bothered. And if I had voted, I’m not so sure I’d have voted Lib Dem.
Even so, I can’t help feeling rather cheered by this unexpected Valentine’s card. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn might not give a toss about me, my kids may (justly, I must admit) think I’m boring, but that’s ok ’cause Vince Cable says I’m wonderful.