I’ve been home alone today for the most part – plodding on with the endless routine of chores and tasks that come with a family and a house. I was supposed to attend a football tournament with the rest of the family, but given yesterday’s drama (including a midnight visit to the railway station to escort Miss 17 home that won’t be mentioned again), I thought it best to stay home.
I wondered how ‘the talk’ with Miss 17 might go throughout the morning – caught between a rock and a hard place in my mind. On one hand I wanted to come down on her like a ton of bricks for her recent behaviour, but on the other I didn’t want to risk going to war over the next few days. She has her first exam on Thursday.
She emerged from her pit in the middle of the afternoon, and asked if I would re-enable the internet connection on her computer. I forced her to sit and talk with me first. ‘The talk’. Rather that go off on one, I talked about always having her back, and always looking out for her – even if she disagreed with my judgement from time to time. After a few minutes talking about recent events, and how disappointed I was, I agreed to switch the internet connection back on. I’m not really sure how I kept a lid on everything, but I did.
Today hasn’t all been doom and gloom though. A good friend interrupted the endless re-filling of the washing machine with a perfectly dug escape tunnel into the internet, and reminded me that I’m more than just ‘Dad’, ‘husband’, ‘cleaner’, ‘washer’, or ‘tidy upper’. It’s easy to forget who you used to be when you’re staggering from one spinning plate to the next. It turns out having a friend out there somewhere or other is pretty damn useful sometimes. Who knew?
After the family returned this evening, I began making dinner, and realised we didn’t have a particular ingredient, so nipped out to the corner shop with a pocket full of loose change. While walking across the green outside the house somewhat absent mindedly, a familiar voice called out.
I squinted across the green, through the late afternoon sunshine, and spotted a group of neighbours having a picnic – among them a wonderful friend that lives across the way – waving her arm above her head, and grinning mischievously.
I couldn’t stop, but oh how I wanted to. I passed the time of day with the group, before explaining my important mission, and turned back towards the local shop. After dinner – while taking rubbish out to the bins – I peered around the edge of our driveway, half hoping they might still be there. They were not.
So. It’s Sunday evening. I’m weighing what I might do with the rest of my evening. I’ve spent the greater part of the day doing things for others – it feels like I should try and do something for myself. Perhaps catch up on a TV show? Or read a book? Of course we all know I’ll fall down an internet rabbit hole after publishing this, and not be seen again until the early hours of tomorrow morning – probably spouting some unintelligible jibberish about a conspiracy theory or ridiculous wikipedia page I discovered along the way.
Wish me luck.