I determine that self help is the only way forward.
I prepare dinner for five, clear up and hover by the window for the cavalry. When he arrives to take over, we kiss and move on. I charge out of the house already 30 minutes late to meet my pals, my first dinner out in….......a very long while?
Driving is so easy when you are alone with no distractions. It provides me with 25 minutes of blissful thinking time. My own mother’s voice drifts into my mind from across the ocean. “You know dear, in my day we just told the children to play and then took a quiet couple of hours to ourselves. Is it really that different these days?” I should have been born two generations ago. I try to determine how other people cope, the sandwich generation. What is the secret and why isn’t anyone telling me what it is?
I make a mental note to buy some more Ensure as excessive busyness is not good.
I enjoy three hours of convivial company, with like minded women and an excellent dinner. I ask a great many conversational questions. Every one of us has a unique set of circumstances which we somehow manage to also have in common. I narrowly avoid answering any direct questions myself.
When the lights dim and we hear crashes in the kitchen we take our cue. Outside I leave them with my passing shot, a joke, which has the advantage of being true.
“So I met this woman the other day.”
“She has three autistic boys.”
“Did she have any tips?”
“Does she live near?”
“Did you like her?”
“How do they cope?”
I beam, “she has a nanny, an au pair and a home help!”
“Geez how did she swing that?”
“Is part of that from Respite?”
“Must cost a fortune!”
I beam, “she works full time!”
We snort in the car park like school girls, as laughter is the best therapy.
Like the woman has any choice! Horses for courses, that’s what I say.
On my return, the house is dark.
To all intents and purposes I am alone. I tip toe inside and close all the windows, lock all the outside doors. Every electronic gaming device is still running. I wonder if I could read a few chapters before going to bed? I notice that my eldest, temporarily absent daughter’s room door is closed.
I peek inside as a cat charges through my legs like a bat out of hell. I flick on the switch. It looks as if it’s been singled out by burglars. The curtains are on the floor, as it the track. A small bowl of cat food and water are overturned on the carpet. There is a distinctive odour. I wonder how much it costs to therapize a traumatized cat suffering the abuse of solitary confinement?
Nonna appears at my side, the insomniac side effect of many elderly people. I pull the door to, behind my back, so as to not alarm the already fragile sleeper. “Oh you’re back Maddy,” she beams in her diaphanous nightgown. “I’m so glad you got to go out wiv your friends.” I know that she really means it. “I know……." she adds expectently, "....shall we ave a cup of tea?”
“Why not? Come along, I’ll put the kettle on.”
7 hours ago