Praise be to dog, this afternoon my big teen boy and his little sister are busy with their first school holiday activities. Perfectly timed individual activity after a virus had them knocked around, all of us housebound and the two demonstrably irritable with one another for days.
Yesterday I attempted an errand expedition only to have my phone ring incessantly, each of them taking turns to update me on the infuriating misdemeanours of the other. I stopped answering. Later there was a voicemail from the eight year old, firstly critiquing my message as ‘rude’ (?), then confiding she now wished to beat her fifteen year old brother (literally twice her size) to his untimely end with a stick.
Okaaaay. I’m not sure which thought occurred first: a) the self-reassurance that this is the normal ebb and flow of sibling love; or b) as a devoted parent, I need to delete this recorded evidence of premeditation immediately (lest I return home to find the boy’s well-built yet lifeless five foot ten frame lying slumped and bludgeoned under a garden twig). Second day of two weeks of school holidays!
Thankfully both were breathing when I once again laid eyes upon their darling, still-intact forms.
Now, having dropped the boy off, I’m taking a coffee break on a park bench. The air is crisp, the birds are quietly chirping, the caffeine is good.
Barely minutes of this blissful state pass before a menacing shadow creeps too close. I am ambushed by a couple of eight-year-olds in skeleton outfits and Halloween masks.
“BOO!” they call, close to my shoulder.
“BOO!” I round and return on a beat.
My unflinching reflex produces a rather deflated disappointment. Aw gee… What a bust! They swoop and tear away in search of better quality victims.
I return to my coffee, reflecting happily upon the interest these two have brought to my afternoon, whereas I suspect I’ve just ruined theirs. Oh well! Give me other people’s monsters any day. A change is as good as a holiday.