When I was a teenager I couldn’t understand why people over thirty let themselves go. My eighteen year old self would be horrified if he could see me now. Fortunately, my children have spent their lifetimes educating me on what’s important in life.
Some days, having kids is like being a contestant on a game show and having to pick between doors one, two or three. You don’t know what you’re going to end up with – it could be the car, it could be the encyclopedias – but you just know by the end of the episode you’re going to have a great story to tell your friends.
A friend of mine has been having a rough week. Work commitments, kid commitments and all the other commitments in her life have conspired to make their demands all at once.
“I’m exhausted,” she confided in me. “The light’s on but no one’s home. I can barely think.”
We’ve all had those days/weeks/months. You just want to call in sick then lie on the couch watching Ellen. But we don’t, do we? No, we soldier on. We throw on our work shirts and shoes and drag our feet to the car and head into town.
As my friend did this morning.
“I’d driven most the way to the post office when it suddenly occurred to me something was wrong with the air conditioner. My legs were freezing,” she told me.
I understand. I get cold feet some days.
Over the last 21 years, kids have meant I’ve done a lot of things I never thought I would. I’ve wiped another human’s bum, for one. I’ve said no to invitations to go out drinking and I’ve said yes to a request to go to a Wiggles concert. I’ve enjoyed going to a Wiggles concert. I’ve spent all day in front of the telly without moving the station from ABC2. I’ve sat on a toilet reading a book while my kids splashed so much water onto the floor I’ve had to mop. I’ve put on twenty kilos, most of it from kiddy friendly pasta dishes.
But it’s the stuff I’ve ended up doing just because I’ve been too exhausted to know better or stop it which really sticks in my mind. I’ve gone to work wearing Tracey’s undies. I’ve woken up choking on vomit because my two year old daughter has thrown up in my mouth. I’ve dropped a litre of red gloss paint on my dining room carpet. I’ve left the handbrake off and had my car roll down a hill into a power pole.
Having read the above, the eighteen year old me would have just gone out and had himself neutered.
It’s funny, but it’s these things we’re forced to do or endure because we have kids which make the whole experience so much richer, if a little more expensive or potentially embarrassing.
As my friend found this morning when she looked down at her freezing legs and quickly did a double take, then spun the car around and drove as carefully and law abidingly as she could all the way home.
It turns out there was absolutely nothing wrong with the air conditioning.
“When I’d dressed for work I’d forgotten to put on my pants!”
Yep, she was about to pull up at the local post office and hop out in nothing but her work shirt and undies.
Which is the only bit in this whole post my eighteen year old self would have heartily approved of 🙂
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