Today was a lovely day. A proper sunshine-y, crunching on autumn leaves sort of a day with good friends. And at the end of our lovely day, we got in the car: tired, grubby and ready for home. We were about an hour away, or so I thought.
The 4 year olds soon fell asleep, as they do after a busy day. The 6 year old did his best to amuse himself but, as we joined queue after queue after queue, mainly complained. I couldn’t blame him. I did my best to provide reassuring, understanding and patient responses to “I wish we were already at home / How long until we are home? / Why did we even come this way? / I wish we hadn’t come this way / I am so bored I’ve even had enough of my books / I wish you’d gone the other way / Why aren’t you even following the SatNav? / I’m homesick / When are we going to buy a pumpkin?” An hour into the journey, I was still doing reasonably well at providing patient answers, albeit through gritted teeth. 2 hours in and I had run out of reassuring words. And patience.
Over the course of the journey, we listened to:
- A delightful collection of 35 CBeebies songs. Including The Tweenies, which made me want to crawl into a box and hide. Preferably with earplugs.
- Jolly Phonics
- Taylor Swift
- A song about jumping on a Monday, hopping on a Tuesday and skipping on a Wednesday. We listened to this one four times, just so that we could all hear exactly what we’re supposed to be doing on every day of the week.
- The audio version of The Troll. Twice. I still don’t understand it.
As I sang along to a, a, ants on my arm; a thousand thoughts raced through my head. Would we make it home without needing to stop for the toilet? Would we have to pull over for dinner? Would the 4 year olds ever go to bed having had a 2 hour nap at the very worst time of day? Would I have to give in and admit that making it home from Surrey was, in fact, impossible? Would we have to spend the night in Staines? Was it totally and utterly irresponsible to go out for a day during half term? And why did being stuck in traffic in the days before I had children ever seem like an issue? When I could listen to my own music, get out and explore Staines if I fancied, find somewhere nice for dinner; and not worry about the consequences of being home past my bedtime – why was this ever stressful?
Just as I was tempted to find a lay-by, pull over and sob; the boys requested If you’re happy and you know it. And so, although desperate to have a good cry, instead I found myself reluctantly leading an in-car singalong. And this, I thought, sums up a lot of what being a mum is all about.
As it turned out, we didn’t didn’t have to spend the night in Staines…… Not that I have anything at all against Staines. But, 3 hours later, it was lovely to get home.