About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

Time for another short story – this is Friday Fictioneers, a blog party hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Every week bloggers from around the world submit a 100-word (or thereabouts) piece of flash fiction inspired by a photo prompt. Full rules are on Rochelle’s blog. The more the merrier. This week’s picture is copyright Renee Heath and the usual restrictions apply. To visit this week’s other stories click on the froggy face under my story.


A Tale Of Two Birthdays

Anne wrapped her fingers around the ice-cold cocktail (non-alcoholic, of course) that Pete had just fetched her from the beach bar. This was the way to spend a birthday – pure relaxation. She lay on the beach lounger, warming her oversized belly, and even the constant kicks under her ribs seemed more leisurely somehow. She drifted off into a daydream of tiny fingers and an adoring gaze.

“Well, happy birthday to me,” Anne muttered as she lugged the nappy bucket to the washing machine. Parenthood certainly wasn’t turning out how she had always imagined, but then what dreams ever do?



Comments on: "Friday Fictioneers – A Tale of Two Birthdays" (46)

  1. Aaaawww. I hope things look better for her soon. She can look forward to the days when there are no more nappies and the kids love the birthday cakes she decorates for them. 🙂 True, dreams aren’t always what you imagine but sometimes, although different, they’re just as good or better. This one sounds like one to just forget (and how come Pete isn’t helping??)


    • I’m sure things will look better soon Janet, I just didn’t want to dilute how she was feeling in the moment. Some people feel much, much worse than this. The fictional Pete is at work, which is of course the reality for most people when kids are little, and those days can seem so long, especially when you’re not getting much sleep.

  2. Oh my. Makes me glad I am not a mom. haha! Yes, dreams sometimes are best kept to dreaming and not reality. Good story.

    • Ah, Jackie, the benefits are surely there too! From my perspective motherhood gets better with every year that goes by – other people love the baby years and miss them. I think it does pay to be a bit more realistic with our dreaming, though!

  3. Reality beats the dreams. Well described.

  4. When the kids get older she can lie on the beach and they can fetch her cocktails for her – she just needs a little patience 🙂

    • I like that plan very much! And they won’t even have to be non-alcoholic (at least once they’re old enough to buy ’em that way). How does the saying go “God, give me patience – I mean right now!”

  5. Whew… I thought something awful was going to happen to her… well, maybe it has.

    • Hah Ted, one thing’s for sure, you don’t get to give them back to the store if you don’t like ’em! Sure it will be everything she dreamed of, just not every moment, and not when she’s really tired.

  6. Aww.. things do get better though.. But yea a striking contrast between two birthdays.. ! Nicely done.

    • Thanks muZer, yes life does divide into Before and After Kids. My workmates ask me ‘what are your plans for the weekend?’ Hah! And yet, it is all so much better than life without them.

  7. Dear Anne,
    I relate so well to this story so well! You have me smiling as I’m tapping out my comment on an iPhone. Nice job!

  8. Funny how so much can change in a year! Nice twist. I just recently read A Tale of Two Cities so the title made me smile.

    • Some changes we plan, others just happen, but a year can be a long time in anyone’s life. I’m wondering what changes 2013 holds. Thanks for visiting.

  9. Ah, yes, pesky reality sets in! Great story, universal truth.

    • Yeah, pesky reality indeed. Shame they don’t come with an instruction manual, are self-cleaning and entertain themselves whenever you have something else you need to do. But then there wouldn’t be the same reward.

  10. Lovely contrast! Good work, as ever.

    • Thanks for the compliment Sandra. I really wanted to show how shocked she was by the difference, and especially how unprepared for the reality.

  11. Oh, so bittersweet, Anne! I really felt this. Great job. Still, there’s time for things to improve…. (I say with my hopeful face!)

  12. Good stuff. All sounds very familiar!

  13. Being a mom I must say, shame on dad for not guilting a family member into taking the baby for the day so he could take her out for a proper birthday.

    • Ah, don’t be too hard on Pete. His real counterpart is reading this you know 🙂 In real life, we lived far away from all our families, so rarely had that kind of backup. This is another thing that is true for many families these days in our mobile society. Something they did better in times gone by where families stayed close together, though there are many, many things about the modern world I wouldn’t give up, like meeting lovely bloggers from around the world.

  14. aww, poor woman had the dream ripped out from under her. literally. well done.

  15. Next time I consider regretting not having had children, I will remember this story and smile smugly! Ann

    • Hi Ann, yes there are lots of advantages to not going that route, and never any point in regrets 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

      • I wouldn’t smile SMUGLY though, I hope! Couldn’t have kids anyway. It was either my womb or my life in the end. I create in other ways and no nappies! Ann

  16. unfortunately reality does not bother to check with us and our dreams before it reaers its ugly head. She will have better days as the son grows and she gets to experience the joys of motherhood instead of the chores necessary to bring him along.

  17. Nicely done, Anne. Life is a real mix, and you captured it well here. Ron

  18. Dreams a wonderful hope or escape. Nicely done.

  19. never fear, it gets better in 20 years !

  20. A wistful and evocative tale, with a strong sense of character. Well done!

  21. ahh you bring back the memories. I remember dreaming of that perfect child. The one was is a genius and is the best behaved of any other child. We are so awakened to reality quickly aren’t we? Thank you for sharing this…and my kids are perfect in their own way. 🙂

  22. This sums it up for me. The first part is more of a birthday wish. The second is a birthday reality! Great post.

  23. And yet we continue to dream. That must mean something. Hopefully she doesn’t get so caught up in the dirty diapers that she misses all the ways her baby is even more than she dreamed of. 🙂 (Although those diapers are no fun…)

  24. Hopefully in a couple of years she’ll be back at the beach building sandcastles.
    Great contrast in tone and feeling between the dates.

  25. […] Friday Fictioneers – A Tale of Two Birthdays (anneorchardwriter.wordpress.com) […]

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