Saturday 27 September 2008

Role Reversal

So there I am in my bedroom, in front of the mirror in my undies, singing along to the perfect song for a sunny Saturday. My make-up's done and I'm straightening my hair.

The door flies open and in marches an eight year old girl. She's been ready for ages, waiting for me. "It's too LOUD" she snaps, turns the music down and stomps out.

Now hang on ... isn't that the wrong way round?!

Tuesday 23 September 2008


Girl: "Who did you wave at?"

Me: "Your uncle - he just went past"

Girl: "I didn't see his car."

Me: "No, he was on his bike"

Girl: "His BIKE?!! Where was he going?"

Me: "Home. He rides his bike to the station so he can go to work"

Girl: "He works at the STATION?!!"

Me: "No ... he gets the train to work"

Girl: "WHAT? He gets the TRAIN to work?!!"

And so it goes on and on ... the curiosity of the very young ... the endless questions ... pounding relentlessly on our heads until our ears are deaf and our brains are numb. And we wouldn't have it any other way!

Sunday 21 September 2008

Peachy Surrender

My parents took me upstairs to my old bedroom to admire the new wardrobe for my Dad's clothes. A place for everything, and the drawers slide smoothly shut with a satisfying click.

The warmest place in the house, at the front and above the kitchen, I liked that old bedroom when I was little. I could see my best friend's house opposite and keep look-out for relatives arriving on Sundays just before lunch. Before we extended the house, my sister and I shared that room. We made up putting-things-away-games when our mum tortured us with having to tidy our room. We messed it up something shocking, and complained like banshees when we had to tidy it. The room's very neat now, what with the children in their forties, a new wardrobe and everything.

One day my sister and I were given a Roald Dahl book each: I got Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, she got James and the Giant Peach. I loved my book. I read it over and over again, living the story, soaking up every detail of every picture, convinced I got the better deal. A stubborn younger sister, I refused to swap and read hers. I remember picking up her book and staring at it, wondering what the bugs were all about, flicking the pages, slowly turning it over and reading no more than the back cover.

When I'd finished admiring the new wardrobe, my mum suggested I borrow some of the few remaining children's books left on the shelf. I finally relented and took James and the Giant Peach to read to my daughter. It's brilliant!

Thursday 18 September 2008

Better Together

This week Big G said cheerio to his American job and came back to start a cooler one in the UK. No more trans-Atlantic commuting for him. He flew into Heathrow in the early morning sunshine, with 3 duffle bags and a back-pack. We loaded up the Toyota and drove home.

In the 19 months he's been working abroad, I've been bending under the weight of loneliness, stress and frustration, all crammed into a stiff, prickly bag called self-pity, sitting heavy on my shoulders. I'm tough enough and didn't break ... with a little help from my friends and family ... but I do declare there have been some very gloomy days.

And how do I feel today? Today I feel relief. Relief, relief, relief.

Sunday 14 September 2008

Don't Grow on Trees

The car was packed for the long drive home this afternoon, and the time had come to start rounding up my grubby children - tired but happy from a brilliant weekend of non-stop playing with old pals, and a too-short night on a blow-up mattress.

I stood in the garden with my friend, car keys in hand, and we had one last laugh at the expense of our deliciously sensitive and over-dramatic sons:

"You're MEAN Mummy, you just don't understand how I FEEL", I mocked.

"Mummy, this has been the WORST day of my LIFE", she mimicked.

And then we cackled like hags, shoulders shaking as we tried to laugh quietly so the children wouldn't know we were talking about them.

Yes, I managed to dig myself out of Cheshire and plant myself back here in southern soil ... but one thing I've learnt is that friendships like that one don't grow on trees.