Years ago someone told me that when their parents came home from work at the end of the day, there was a rule. The rule was this: the parents would each pour themselves a drink and retire to the loungeroom together with the door shut. They were not to be disturbed for thirty minutes. OR ELSE. At the time they described this to me I thought it was reasonable. They were the parents of triplets – the mere fact that they survived at all weighs everything in their favour.
Now I have my own two non-triplet children, I feel like writing those triplet parents a stirring, uplifting anthem. A paean. Because – THEY WERE SO RIGHT. I work two days a week. After two days reading and writing about the degloved, psychosis laden, bullied and harrassed everyman who inevitably has constant back pain (work related) with sciatica (transport accident) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (armed holdup) and Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood (genetic predisposition i.e. family history and aforementioned circumstances), having to negotiate a fragile and skittish public transport system (bus, train, diesel train) and then a 1980 Mercedes to get home – I need a buffer zone, a trench, a DIVERSION to give me the time I need to decompress, take off my wage slave hat, and become the mother again. It takes a little while. About half an hour and a large glass of
Tonight (after I had been rescued from the supermarket carpark where I sat in a non-starting vehicle) I sat in front of my dinner and begged M, for the love of god, to get them ready for bed before he went out on the Mornington Peninsula mean streets to pick up his latest nautical accoutrement. He did better than that. The hands, the face, the teeth, the wee HANDS FACE TEETH WEE – they were all taken care of. And the Small people were told that they had free rein to do what they chose, WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THEIR BEDROOM. And thus I type this to you, a second glass of wine at my elbow. The sounds of muffled glee reach me, but do not disturb. No one is demanding my fractured attention. There is a brief breakout…
“Mama, the scab came off my knee.”
“Is there blood?”
“Then don’t worry. Be gone.”
…and then my being relaxes, the wine and food do their job, and I am almost eager to plunge through a chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.