Picture this: it’s six o’clock on a Saturday evening, we’ve just put the kids’ favourite dinner on the table and seated them all with the intent to enjoy an adults-only meal together once they’re in bed.
Leaving the teenager to preside over the consumption of said meal, Michael and I are lying on our bed with the bedroom door firmly closed.
Nothing of the hanky-panky variety going on – in fact, I’m sharing aloud a funny passage from the novel I’ve been reading since Christmas – and it’s just as well, because the children wolf down the meal (which took forty minutes to prepare) in three minutes flat and seem to be struggling with the whole closed-door scenario.
That is, there’s none left in her cup.
It doesn’t occur to her that anyone else could assist her in procuring more.
Not thirty seconds later, we can hear the dulcet tones (yeah, right) of discontent wafting through the gap under the door.
Something like, “…but I already cleared three things off the table, tell her to do some…” and “why do I always have to do everything?!...”, and we are mentally counting down the three seconds it takes for Master 10 and Miss 15 to shoulder-barge each other in the (now open) doorway while simultaneously trying to justify their respective positions in the Great Table-Clearing Debate of 2015.
“Am I going to school tomorrow?” (Miss 5),
“Can I puh-leeaase watch an eighty-fifth consecutive episode of Adventure Time?” (Master 10),
“Have you changed the wifi password?” (Miss 15) (incidentally, we had, to ‘CleanYourBedroomEmily’),
“Can I just have one long cuddle in the bed with you?” (Miss 5),
“I’m sick of Adventure Time - can I borrow your laptop to watch a movie?” (Miss 15), and
“Can I please have a can of lemonade?” (Master 10).
The upshot of this happy family moment was that when Master 10 popped his head in to tell us that Charlie’s nappy needed attention, we almost bit his head off and made him cry.
When Michael expressed his frustration, the only response I could come up with was that it could have been worse – at least Charlie can’t get to our door too (shock! horror! what an awful thing to say!).
In writing these blogs, I remarked to Michael that I was struggling with ideas tonight.
When I came back from a quick trip to the loo, this was written on my otherwise blank screen:
“I love my husband very much, but I love the postman more.”
(At least we can still make each other laugh).
This is just a time-poor-parenting issue.
We are lucky enough to be blessed with a very responsible teenage daughter who is happy to babysit her siblings from time to time whilst we duck out to the local Indian place round the corner for an hour once the little ones are in bed.
The irony is, once we get there we inevitably end up talking about the children, their timetables and our upcoming events lists, and how tired we are.
On the rare occasion where we’ve scored an adult babysitter and can venture further afield, we find ourselves at a loss as to what we should do with our freedom.
We once sat in a restaurant beside a middle-aged couple who came in, sat down, ate an entire meal and left without uttering a single word to each other.
A vision of our future?
I hope not!!
I know that our children won’t be young forever.
All too soon, they’ll be grown and we’ll be busy avoiding their calls in case they want us to babysit their children on a Saturday night (just kidding – my parents say grandchildren are by far the best children to have) so that they can sit in a restaurant wondering what they used to do with all their free time?
Even without the ‘special needs thing’ rearing its head (what if my child never leaves home? What if we’re parenting like this forever? etc), we need to find a way to be just Michael and Fiona from time to time.
Not Mummy and Daddy or Husband and Wife, but just ourselves – if for no other reason than so that we can have something interesting to share at the next quick Indian meal!
I want to make sure it stays that way for both of us.
How do you do it?
Please share your ideas with us so that we may steal them shamelessly.
I promise to share any tips and tricks we come up with in return.
Did you receive adequate support and information when you received your child's diagnosis?