>> Saturday, 30 July 2011
...that's me, right now.
...that's me, right now.
On a trip out with Grandad yesterday afternoon, Boy #2 followed him across a carpark and temporarily lost sight of his grandfather when Dad walked around the back of the car to put something in the boot. So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by the confusion that followed when, as Boy #2 reached the side of our car in the busy carpark he saw an older gentlemen sitting in the driving seat of the car next to ours with the window open and his head down as he sealed an envelope. Like my father, this man had grey hair, glasses, and was wearing a checked shirt. The similarities ended there, but when you're five...
If I were writing a script for a movie of my life right now, today's effort would probably feature the following line:
We've moved base - again - on what seems like our never ending merry-go-round of visits this summer. We're now staying at the flat of some friends who flew off somewhere lovely earlier today (don't ask me where, too sick-making to even think of it given the weather here right now), and my sons are sleeping in their children's bunk beds.
Summer holidays, and it's raining, again. But here I am, a little ray of sunshine to tell you that - no matter how wet you got on your way between the car and the supermarket as you dragged your complaining children behind you, counting the weeks until the end of the break under your breath - actually, life could be worse. For example, you could be a suicidal cat living with your mother, trapped in the cone of shame.
On a budget flight between the Netherlands and the UK today, my experience of a week or so ago was put firmly behind me. The lovely lady checking passengers in at the gate sent the Boys and I to a special boarding queue reserved for parents travelling with small children, and we were allowed to follow the priority boarders onto the plane before the main bulk of the passengers were released onto the tarmac to tussle for their seats. A far cry from my having to beg an unwilling passenger for the chance to sit next to my own children on the outbound flight, thank heavens.
... are two mutually exclusive concepts, it seems. Mothers of sons, do you recognise this picture? Please tell me yes and that mine is not the only washing machine constantly running...
I'm going to come straight out and say it; we're in Wk 4 of The Summer Break and I'm not Superwoman. So I have, on occasion, resorted to tv as babysitting over the last couple of weeks to let me get a few things done (like write the odd blog post, for example).
...because I forgot to bring the connecting cord for my phone to my laptop on holiday. Dammit. But I've got some fabulous shots on there, I promise.
The woman looked at me as if I was crazy, horror and outrage written all over her face. She didn't even need to say what she was thinking; how could I have made such a ridiculous suggestion? Who did I think I was? What on earth had I done to merit any kind of special treatment? I looked around but all about I could only see stony faces, eyes elsewhere, people who had their faces buried in books and magazines - anything rather than acknowledge the situation unfolding inches away from them.
I tried again.
"Would you mind moving? It's just that this was the last free row of 3 seats, I'm travelling with my five and seven year old children, and I think it would be sensible to sit next to them."
I refrained from pointing out that the row in front and behind her each had 2 free seats; if she needed extra room that was still possible, and that I was asking her not because I had singled her out for unfair treatment, but because she happened to have taken the last free row that the stewardess at the front of the plane had directed me to.
Not meeting my eye she answered me "I'm waiting for two friends to join me. So no, I'm not moving."
I looked at my sons. I thought about simply dumping them next to her (there was no sign of her two friends, & first come first served), and sitting across the aisle whilst I fed them messy chocolatey snacks and refused them access to their Nintendo's, resulting in certain meltdown; in my opinion, a suitable reward for her behaviour. I also thought about pointing out to her that the flight we were about to take was only 45 minutes - FORTY FIVE MINUTES! - and surely, surely she could live without her friends' company for that long (especially bearing in mind that they hadn't bothered to do her the politeness of standing in the queue with her). I thought about asking when the last time she struggled through the airport with two young children on her own was, watching other passengers rush past her in the certain knowledge that she was going to be last in the boarding queue - which was of course how I had ended up in this situation in the first place.
I even thought about suggesting to the couple in the row opposite, firmly staring out the window holding hands for all they worth as they tapped their ruby slippers together and wished me and my troublesome children away, that perhaps they could split up and move to alternate seats...
Luckily for all involved none of these things happened, as a woman in the seat in front politely stood up, moved, and gave the row of three up for us as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Budget air travel. It surely is a wonderful thing...
I can't ignore it any more. It's been eating away at me for months now, if not years. I've tried to push it to one side. Don't be stupid, I've told myself. You don't have the time for this. You don't have the headspace for this. You've got too much going on. When on earth would you find the opportunity?