Monday, 25 June 2012

Holly Robinson guest post and giveaway

Today I have Holly Robinson, author of Sleeping Tigers and The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter for a guest post.

About Holly
Holly Robinson is the author of the novel Sleeping Tigers, a 2011 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Fiction Finalist, and The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir. Her new novel, The Wishing Hill, will be published by Penguin in Spring 2013.

Holly is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of national publications. She also works as a ghost writer and book doctor on celebrity memoirs and other nonfiction books.

Ms. Robinson holds a B.A. in biology from Clark University and is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

She lives in northern Massachusetts with her husband and their five children.

Find Holly

Holly's Books

How One Bus Ride Became the Best Birthday Celebration Ever

By Holly Robinson, author of the novel Sleeping Tigers
and The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir

It wasn't until my youngest child, Aidan, started school that I realized how much I hated big birthday celebrations. Our older four children were party animals who knew how to rock the house until they dropped, but Aidan literally hid under the table when we lit the candles on his birthday cake. And, if we invited too many guests, he retreated to his room. He wasn't particularly shy. He just hated parties.
Finally I wised up. For his fifth birthday, I asked Aidan how he wanted to celebrate.
“I want to ride a bus,” he announced without hesitation. “And I want to sit near the bus driver.”
“That's it? No party?”
Aidan shook his head, adamant now. “No party. Just a bus ride. And maybe a picnic.”
Well, if nothing else, this boy of mine was a cheap date, so I decided to give in to his whim. I found a bus that would take us to a city half an hour away and off we went. Aidan was in heaven the whole trip—especially when I told the driver that it was Aidan's birthday and the driver invited him to open and close the door for passengers.
When we arrived at our destination, we walked to a nearby park and had a picnic. A children's theater performance happened to be rehearsing, so we watched the play for free as we ate our sandwiches. Then his dad joined us after work and we went home for cake and presents.
“That was the best birthday ever,” Aidan told me that night.
It was true. With our four older kids, we'd had parties and trips to amusement parks, water slides and museum trips—always with gangs of kids, and usually with bouts of tears at the bitter end. Aidan's birthday bus ride made me reflect on my own past birthday celebrations—many of them involving friends and drinks and a headache the next day, with never enough time to have a real conversation with anybody.
So, for my next birthday, I told my husband that I didn't want a party, either.
He looked slightly panicked. “What should we do, then?”
“I just want a picnic in a hotel room, where we can watch a movie in bed and not be interrupted by kids,” I said.
The two of us took ourselves off to a hotel and did just that. We came home relaxed and reconnected...with no mess to clean up and no headache the next day.
This past December was my mother's eightieth birthday. I considered organizing a blowout bash for her, perhaps even renting a special function room. But, as Mom and I talked, I realized that she didn't want a big party any more than I wanted to plan one.
Instead, I convinced my brothers, who both live far away, to surprise her at my house. We gave her a tea party of sandwiches and scones with a few friends, then gathered in front of the fire in the living room, my mother with her two beloved sons on either side of her, beaming like a twenty-year-old bride.
The best birthday celebrations? They're the ones where we can focus on the passage of time, the memories we've gathered, and the precious value of moments spent with those we love most.

To enter to win a copy of Sleeping Tigers just fill in the rafflecopter form below.
This giveaway is for UK address only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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