It’s been a bit of a morning so far. My other half is out for the day at some sort of arts and crafts course, leaving me to shepherd Miss 15 to rugby. We caught the first bus out of town this morning, then set off towards the rugby club. I gave my daughter the choice between getting a bus all the way to the rugby club, or walking through town via McDonalds to get a breakfast wrap. She started walking almost immediately.
After realising we might not make it to the rugby ground on time, we DID end up catching a bus – thankfully the pitches are adjacent to a busy road that many bus routes pass along. After waiting at a nearby stop for a minute or two, a bus swept into view, and we jumped aboard. Quite how the driver didn’t know about the existence of the rugby club is a mystery to me – thankfully I knew the name of the bus stops near the NUMEROUS rugby pitches alongside the road, which he did know.
Another little thing that made the journey a little easier – our local bus services have upgraded the ticket machines on all vehicles to accept contact-less payments from debit and credit cards. I’m beginning to wonder when or if I’ll ever need cash in my wallet again – it’s disappearing from general use at a pretty impressive rate.
Needless to say, we made it to the rugby club with five minutes to spare. Quite why we broke our backside getting here on time is a mystery though, because of course we arrived first – meeting the coaches on the corner of the pitch. Miss 15 proudly claimed that she had walked all the way before I pulled the rug from under her (“don’t you mean all the way from the bus stop to the pitches?”). Over the course of the next few minutes a steady stream of teenagers arrived around us – all looking like they might have been reluctantly dragged from their beds a few minutes before.
I’m now sitting in the club house, perched on a high stool by a window, looking out over the rugby grounds. I’ve just finished a cup of tea, and have an hour to myself. I will wander down to the pitch side towards the end of training and accompany Miss 15 back to get herself a cup of tea before we begin the journey home.
When we get home later today I’ll no doubt be met by Miss 13 and Miss 18, both announcing they are bored and hungry. There will also be a sink full of washing up, and a kitchen strewn with the remains of whatever they have scavenged from the cupboards during the morning. It will not have occurred to either of them to clean up after themselves. If I question them, I will be “going on at them, as per usual” – and if I question their tone, they will make comments about spending the weekend with Miss 15 “as per usual”. Two parents into three children doesn’t go – and the older they get, the more barbed their comments become. We’ll ignore that they are plenty old enough to find their own entertainment, go grocery shopping, cook, wash up, and tidy up after themselves – because the argument really isn’t worth having.
This is where I stop this post from spiraling any further. Enough with the negativity. This is life – at the moment – and is a very similar life to lots of other families with teenagers. I guess in some ways I should be happy that I’m still involved in my children’s lives – I see lots of our children’s friends essentially living their own lives by their mid-teens – completely independent of their parents. That our kids know a world where dinner is always on the table, where we catch up with each other’s day over our evening meal, and where the house is always festooned with fresh laundry – these are things I should hang on to – things I should be thankful for. Being thankful doesn’t feel like the right sentiment though – because we actively make these things happen – they are about hard work, and modelling an example we might wish the children to continue.
Postscript – I stood next to a wonderful Mum for the last twenty minutes of training, and somehow got into a conversation all about the books we have been reading recently. Now I really DO have to start making time to read, because she will ask next time I see her…