I love The Teenager to pieces, but I also love the weekends he is away. Does that make me a bad parent?
He comes back from school on the Friday and stays for a while before being picked up. It’s a strange half hour. I know I’m going to miss him, but ‘freedom’ is just around the corner. When he leaves, there is an unusual silence in the house and I have a whole weekend to savour it. The PS3 isn’t droning in the background, the laundry pile disappears, The Teenager isn’t shouting match updates to me every ten minutes and I can sit back and relax. This parent is strictly off-duty.
Being a single parent with MS is hard. I can’t sign out for a few hours or a day. I need to be present and in control at all times, but MS doesn’t make allowances and I struggle sometimes. The days I am fatigued are the worst. There are times I almost resent not being able to go to bed early or having to schlep out a couple of times a week to pick him up from rugby or football training. So during the weekends he is away, I can let the mask slip. I don’t have to pretend everything is alright.
I can also do exactly as I please. I can catch up with The Real Housewives, America’s Next Top Model and Come Dine With Me. Guilty, trashy pleasure. I can sit and eat ice cream right out of the tub without having to share. I can have an evening out with friends and do proper grown-up things. Or I can just potter around the house, flitting from one thing to the next without having one eye on the clock.
I think it’s just having bit of time to catch up with myself, take stock and charge the batteries up. Yet much as I enjoy the time off, I’m like a kid at Christmas when he comes back on the Sunday. Everything in the house feels….right again. Except for the laundry pile, the toothpaste round the sink and the disappearing food…
p.s. a very clever lady on Shift-MS suggested ‘Reading Between The Wines’ as a name for our new book club – sheer genius!