It's the time of the year again to deliver one of the biggest duties as a daddy to my little girl Aimi. It's her 8th birthday and it's written on my calendar to drop whatever I do and fly home to be with her. I skipped my son's 5th and 6th birthdays, he grumbled but I can handle it by offering toys that his mother wouldn't allow him to have and he still thinks I'm the coolest dad. But it's kind of different with Aimi, who can be quite unpredictable. Just at the thought of her biting her lips and holding back tears in her eyes if I were not there on her big day, is enough to tear me apart. So dutifully, I took the flight home.
Her birthday was on Thursday. My wife took a day off and so we drove the kids to school. In the car for that morning trip and many other trips for the whole week, I was overdosed with the Glee Soundtrack, Volume 1. I have never watched these series of high school kids in their act of grouping, performing and outdoing the cheerleading squad. I thought it was lame. But now, ask me anything about Rachel, Mercedes, Finn, Artie and others in the Glee cast. I have been well informed about their characters, songs, love and life's issues. Thanks to my kids who supplied me, unconditionally, all the titbits as if they were written in their school's textbook. Aimi thought I was cool, when she noticed that I know the words in her favourite Glee songs like, 'Can't fight this feeling' and 'Alone'. She doesn't know yet those songs were originally sung by REO Speedwagon and Heart, the bunch of people whose songs I grew up with in the 80s.
The school bell rang at 8 AM to start the scene like in the Serengheti National Park. The school kids responded by making a stampede straight into their classes. The noisy kids were muted by the presence of the teachers. Once they all settled well to start another day of classroom adventure, I walked into the headmaster's office. I told Mr Headmaster that I just came back from the loneliest desert and after missing my daughter for 4 months, I would like to take her and her classmates hostage for an hour, to feed them with fried chicken, cakes and drinks. Mr Headmaster said, "Oh Well, go ahead.... feed 'em well and make 'em happy". Damn, why didn't I have headmaster like him when I was a kid?
I returned to the school to take charge of Aimi's class from 12:00 noon, just around lunchtime. The kids were happy to see me, probably because I dressed in an orange shirt, looking like Nemo's dad, Marlin, the clown fish. I distributed the party pack accessories for the kids to wear and made them rehearse the birthday song a cappella. My wife, at the other corner, was busy being a proper mother setting up the candles, cake, food and drinks. I thought of bringing lots of chocolates, but then I remembered, Chris, our Corporate Affairs advocating adamantly, as if her life depended on it, "We, at Mars, don't promote chocolates to school children.......".Consequently, no sweets and chocolates. I felt sorry for the kids. Yeah, go ahead and adore us...the most responsible and ethical chocolate maker.
Aimi's teachers were supervising us. They were easy going and friendly. It surprised me when one of them played Lady Gaga's, Bad Romance, to get the party started. Awesome. Damn, why didn't I have teachers like them when I was a kid? Sorry that I repeated myself unneccessarily. Well, the kids just had too much energy that towards the end of the hostage, they had become a little too hard to handle, asked too many questions and I decided it's time to hand them back to the talented teachers. They kids said together, almost like singing, a loud and long farewell and thank you. It's chaotic yet it sounded so sincere as it came straight from these young hearts. Very touchy, indeed. Later in the evening Aimi told me that her friends think it's the best birthday party they have had together. I asked her what she personally thinks. She smiled and looked away. That's her typical way of shielding her own emotion.
If only Aimi knew how nasty a ladybird is, she might not consider her cake to be made like one.
Nevertheless, it's a colourful and lovely cake. It couldn't be more perfect than this.
She is now officially 8 years old, making a wish...