Yesterday Wes left for London in the morning. Off to work. Again. At the weekend. Again. To build something. Not even he knew what.
Thankfully, there were church services. One in the morning. And another in the afternoon. In different churches. Both with children’s groups. So that I could get twenty minutes respite from little hands and whinging voices and Joel’s cries of “I want my Mummy.” Whilst he’s sitting on my lap. Seriously. This is a thing now.
I actually felt pretty smug. Not only was I leaving the house. Twice. But I was walking. Outside. In the fresh air. Taking the children to groups that would aid their spiritual development. Getting something that resembled time-out for myself. Looking at leaves and rivers and geese, and embracing the changing seasons in a child-friendly manner. Mother of the year? Possibly.
Then my children did what they do best. Remind me who I really am. By wiping the smug right off my face.
The morning service was in a church that we don’t usually attend. Unless it’s for toddler group. After two years of Monday morning play and biscuits, Elvie and Joel see it as a second home. And fair game for their schemes.
To her immense credit, she almost got away with it. It was only the glint from under her sleeve whilst she did up her shoes that gave her away. A bracelet. Four strings of beads in various shades of pink and purple and blue. That she hadn’t been wearing that morning.
Apparently she’d ‘found it’ in Sunday club.
As a dutiful mother, I removed it from her arm and returned it to the kind woman who had inadvertently funded her jewellery habit. I apologised profusely and expressed my hopes that it would be reunited with its rightful owner. Sunday club lady looked more than a little bemused during the whole conversation.
Only when I eventually shut up talking did she tell me that actually, she’d given it to Elvie. In fact, Elvie had chosen it. As her present. For her birthday.
Can’t fault her cunning. That’s for sure.
It transpires, after some drawn-out post-event analysis, that she’d desperately wanted to look inside the Sunday club present box. So she pretended it was her birthday. Naturally.
They sang to her, and she told them all about her cake. She celebrated turning 4 all over again. And came home with a bracelet. Which they let her keep. Mostly because they couldn’t stop laughing long enough to take it away.
Clearly, my day as a parent could only get better. Until the post-afternoon-church-service tea break when Joel came running up, brandishing a dirty toilet brush like a sword. Followed by a couple of older girls shouting, “He’s been licking that!”
It was not my finest hour. Not my finest day.
You can only imagine my delight when Wes texted me that evening. As we ate our beans on toast. Whilst I watched Joel like a hawk for any signs of imminent vomiting.
Just a little text. To tell me that the mystery job had turned out to be building a stage for Brad Pitt’s ‘Fury’ premiere in Leicester Square. As evidenced by the photographs he showed me this morning.
Red carpets. Limousines. Bright lights.
Brad Pitt. Shia LeBeouf. Etc.
Soaking in the chilly glamour of a London-glitterati-in-October night. Whilst I dealt with a four year-old con artist and a toddler with decidedly bad taste in snacks.
Yes, I know that all this nonsense about celebrity is just smoke and mirrors. Yes, I understand that parenting is probably a more constructive use of time than months spent pretending to be a 1940’s tank driver. Yes, showbusiness is a very odd, superficial land. I don’t even want to watch the film.
But still. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous. A little bit. And the rest.
My only consolation is that Joel has a stomach of steel, and there was no faecal-matter-induced-vomiting. We’re totally winning.
In your face, Brad.