I’m standing at a airport service counter, nervously shifting from foot to foot as I wait for an attendant to finally make their way over to me. All the while very aware that the minutes are quickly ticking by and that I am dangerously, perilously close to missing my flight.
Standing around at airports waiting to pay surprise excessive baggage fees is not a new experience for me, and the reason behind it is nothing as luxurious as embarking on a exotic holidays and giving in to a shoe buying frenzy.
No, it’s because I’m heading to my hometown for a visit and my suitcase is packed to the brim with gifts for my friends’ kids. Stuffed to breaking point with books, toys, art supplies, clothes and an array of other little cute bits and pieces I’ve picked up and squirrelled away for them since I last made the pilgrimage home.
LISTEN: Is there anything wrong with second-hand gifts? We discuss, on our podcast for imperfect parents.
Just this month, I’ve used up hours of lunch breaks sprinting out to the post office and frantically mailing gifts to friends who are now scattered across Australia, since in a weird twist of fate so many of my Godchildren’s birthdays fall in the space of a few close weeks.
And this whole stressful situation has not even taken into account the two weekend visits I paid to friends who reside in the same city as me this week, arriving at their homes with the passenger seat of my car stacked with gift bags containing presents I’d hastily stuffed inside when I realised I’d well and truly run out of time to wrap them properly.
You know, Santa Claus gets a whole lot of praise for a man who only works one night a year and has a whole army of (no doubt poorly paid) elves to help him out. This Fairy Godmother, however, works around the clock all year round, and I don’t see any of that praise (or a glass of milk and a plate of biscuits) coming my way.