It is Debs’ Day in the house. For today, we are more or less Debs’ Central. The heiress and friends are in the throes of arriving and unpacking. One has flown in from La Rochelle, the Heiress’s boyfriend cut short his holiday in Portugal and is also arriving on a Ryanhellair flight, two of the others have gone off to the hairdressers, dresses have been hung from wardrobe doors, fake eyelashes have already been applied so that the glue can set properly, bodies have been defuzzed and finger-nails, of course are in order. For the past few months I’ve been inwardly being rather grumpy about it all, while trying not to be a killjoy. I thought – hmmm, more of this Younger Female nonesense of the OMG variety, more apeing-celebrity carry-on, more awfulness of many kinds. I think it might be the generation gap. I’m not a younger mother. Anyway, I got a grip of myself recently after my daughter heard me moaning about it on the phone to someone and announced that she knew anyway that I hated the whole thing, and I began to re-think. I wish she hadn’t heard me moaning. I wish nothing that sounds like KILLJOY will ever come her way. So, I’ve rethought the whole thing and I’m delighted they’re happy and enjoying themselves; I’m delighted they are able to enjoy their own youth and beauty and have a bit of crack; I’m thrilled they’re all coming here, and that the (previously thought ‘ghastly’) limo will hum in the drive later today to whisk ten of them away for a long, long night. A photographer is coming too. I want them to see themselves in the narrative of their lives, in years to come, and think back to this evening, and how (we hope) all will have been so lovely for them. Life can be a bummer. They should make merry till sunrise and beyond if they want. Life can still be a bummer. They have years of work ahead of them. They have studies and work, and adventures, and relationships and marriage and affairs and childbirths or none, and caring for this one and that one, and pain-in-the-neck responsibilities and obligations – all of that is ahead of them. I hope they have a brilliant, brilliant time of it.
I didn’t even want to go to our St. Louis school Debs, when it was finally organised in a Dublin hotel. I can’t remember why. It may have been because I didn’t have a boyfriend and wouldn’t have had the confidence to ask someone for the night. But I seem to remember feeling pretty indifferent about it, even then. So maybe that’s just me. I dislike what seem to be enforced celebrations. January is my favourite month, because there is no social celebration that I’m obliged to take part in. January is the oasis of winter – still and hopeful, quiet, no feast or holiday weekend hoving in view, nothing really, except a lovely, lovely silence. I have a cousin who’s the same. Maybe it’s a family resemblance of some kind.
But in the meantime, I will celebrate the girls and the boys as they set out tonight – the parents I only half-know will arrive at 5.00. We will chit-chat (the bit I hate) for an hour or so, we will open champagne, we will douse the raspberries with soft folds of cream and a touch of crumbled chocolate, and then the young things will descend the stairs and the whole whirl of it will begin – photographer, admiration, glamour, beauty. I wish them all the luck and happiness in the world on this special night. I wish I was young again!