Outshone, outperformed and outnumbered

We spent the weekend in Galway, shooting a TV programme on family holiday breaks for the Seoige show where I do the weekly book review. You know the sort of thing, just an intimate affair – hubby, myself and the girls – and a TV crew. You can imagine the nightmares I was having – not only were I and the hubby to be on best behaviour (not easy at the best of times as we negotiate the minefield of activities, mealtimes and strange beds with two temperamental toddlers) – but a camera was going to record every tantrum, every sullen response, every food flinging fiasco of my daughters. Standing in front of a camera and talking was nothing on the fraught forebodings I had of my family in meltdown on national TV.

It didn’t begin well. Planning to shoot for two hours in the aquarium (“My kids love aquariums!” I had enthusiastically told the producer) was put in jeopardy by Daisy’s hysterics the minute we arrived, clutching hubby’s neck whilst screeching “I wanna go home!” for the entire visit. I ended up presenting the section on sharks by myself while hubby retreated with the girls to the shop where only fish on display where of the cuddly kind.

I looked at the long list of activities we had to film over two days and inwardly groaned. What’s that they say about working with children? Add to that, the fact they were my own and that meant revenge for all those forced broccoli sessions, and I was having a quick re-think about my career options.

But like all things with my girls, they surprised me in the most wonderful way. Once the horrors of the deep where forgotten, they laughed and chuckled and flirted outrageously with the cameraman. I saw them through the eyes of the lens and they outshone, outperformed and outnumbered me on every level. I might have been presenting the programme, but they definitely stole the show. There is no way I am able to compete with gappy grins and girlie giggles. And that is the greatest thing about being a mum. I am no longer the most important person in my life. It is no longer the “Me, Myself and I” show – I step aside, and give you, the one and only…. Daisy and Poppy show. And I have the best seat in the house.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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