I had one of those awesome days last Friday where I connected with my kids– the three of us spent the day together, pleasantly. There was minimal arguing, I sung along with the music in the car as I drove, rather than sobbed with it; and I was actually there and present and real, all day.
And I did it all by myself, without that elusive spare pair of willing hands that doesn’t resent helping me wrangle two small children all over the countryside.
We left the TinyTrainHouse at eight am, and–thanks to some miraculous god of good mothering– managed to get to the Disney Junior event on time. Those of you know me will indeed agree, miracle.
I drunk coffee and chatted in geek while the kidlets did their thing. For the the Chop, that included mostly chilling out on a beanbag watching Handy Manny (totally would be a spunk in real life, remember?), hanging out in the music corner, and charming the shoes off the PR ladies whilst eating copious amounts of fairy bread.
Lady Bump was absolutely in her element once she was given a princess dress. She spent her time swishing her skirt, smiling for the photographer and administering to her subjects.
In an act of defiant bravery, or perhaps parental stupidity, we went from two hours of Disneyness straight on to the Sydney Family Show. Two hours and eight rides later– aqua boats, jumping castle, teacups (regular and turbo), dodgems, two different carousels and one massive ferris wheel– and I was damn proud of my little angels, who had been patient and cheerful and helpful and, may god have mercy on us all, even rational all day.
They both crashed out on the drive home– aren’t all children easier to love when they’re sleeping– and we got there just on dark anyway, two Happy Meals passing as dinner, warm bath and then, as I’m tucking my children into soft, comfortable beds, I realize two things, two polar opposites that smack me at the same time.
My God, I miss my husband. I haven’t felt that pang for him all day… its been one of the first times I haven’t felt his ghost follow us around am event, a shadow of a couple talking just milliseconds behind me, immersed still in their Purple Life while I carry on alone. And I miss him, right that second as I putting our children to bed, with a physical ache that’s like a rock on my chest… I look back in amazement sometimes, and wonder how I went for all those months with that rock sitting there all the time.
I want him here. I want the comfortable companionship we had. It’s the reminiscent, nostalgic feeling of satisfied exhaustion that’s bought it on, I think– it occurs to me then that Tony and I used to do this a lot, in the Before; pack ourselves and our kids in the car first thing on a Sunday morning and go adventuring– the beach, the markets, wherever– returning home only when the day and our oldest child’s energy was spent.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this muscle weary happiness… I want someone to share it with. I want to laugh with someone who understands my kids as well as I do. I want to discuss with someone who proud of them I am, what a little grown up the Chop is, how the Bump is a timid daredevil, an adrenaline junkie in disguise.
In the end, I call my mum and have those discussions with her instead. It’s not the same… but it’s enough to take the sting off that bitter loneliness. For the night being, at least.
I miss my best mate.
But there’s something to be had here, something to be taken from this, same way there always is, if you look hard to spot it. It wasn’t until tonight that I felt that sting of loneliness… It hadn’t been present all day, trailing us like a detached shadow.
That’s got to be something.
And besides that… I’m proud of myself. I’m proud that I have two happy, confident little munchkins to call mine. And dammit, I’m proud that I managed to do the whole day, just the Chop and the Bump and I.
I know… again, it’s one of those things that are no big deal, little things most parents do every day. But inn this strange After life, little things huge– it was another day I managed to take the kids all by myself, no spare pair of hands to help… and we felt like a family, just the three of us.
And, hey, if we’re really going start bragging– I think I passed that point a few paragraphs back, but whatever– I delegated and triumphed over the needs and wants of two children under five years old, both as high as clouds on sugar and cartoons, for a whole afternoon. At a freaking carnival.
I must be getting better at this. Sole parenting– kicking arse.