Monday, March 9, 2009
We survived. Seven very excited kids, pass the parcel, tiara shaped sandwiches and cupcakes. Done deal.
When you can write it in a sentence like that - it seems simple. Only a parent would know the real truth.
The need to get just the right color of balloons, how everything must match exactly so no-one feels left out.
How there must be enough activity to keep them busy and enough playtime to let them burn off the cupcake sugar high.
It's exhausting but here in print it just doesn't seem so.
It reminds me of a great letter I read in a magazine. A 'Miss Manners' type column.
A woman was complaining that since her best friend had kids she no longer had time for her. She was at pains to point out that she too had a full-time job. She too had to shop, clean and do laundry. Her point was that she still had time to make phone calls, return emails and make plans to see friends.
What she failed to understand is that being a parent is actually like living in a parallel universe.
You seem like a normal person going about daily life but actually, you are not.
You live in a place where your life is lived for someone (or two or three) else. You often are operating on less than a viable amount of sleep. Your brain is often not where it should be. (Mine is still lying on that lounger somewhere, cocktail in hand.)
You have the needs of several people bouncing around in your head (at least the brain vacancy creates lots of space.)
You are multi-tasking beyond all reasonable limits and that's just a typical day.
Throw in a sick kid and things really get exciting.
How do you explain to your poor friend that your biggest pleasure is going to the market alone? That having the time to vacuum your house actually makes you happy. How do you politely point out that after being asked "mommy?", 13,472 times in one day your ears just want to rest and the thought of making a phone call actually makes you feel nauseous.
How to explain that meeting for a quick drink and catch up is about tenth on your wish list and that numbers one through nine are 'Go to bed early with a good book.'
You will listen patiently as she tells you - she understands - she after all has a cat. She knows what it is like to have a dependent. You will listen to her flippantly say 'just get a sitter.' As we all know - a good one is so easy to find.
You will promise to meet her soon - very soon and she will be placated for a while.
Now, if only the husband was so easily satisfied.......