It’s become a bit of a pattern in our household that whenever DH goes away on a trip (packs bag, disappears to the other side of the world), my corner of the planet starts throwing curveballs.
Thankfully, it’s usually only minor things, like being offered work on a day the children really need me, a poorly child, tantrums, a scrap between the boys that ends in injury. Or a household appliance breaking down.
Today, the car wouldn’t start after a playdate – at Motor City, of all places (maybe the car thought the autodrome looked more fun, or maybe I’ve watched Cars with the boys too many times). Again, though, this could have been so much worse, as anyone who’s broken down on the highway in 40 degrees heat, with children who need the toilet, will attest to.
The sweet thing is, when DH is away, especially far away, like in Sydney last week or Seoul this week, he really worries about us.
“We’ll be fine,” I always say. “Don’t worry about us! What could go wrong?” I lie! [temping fate, I know!]
“I’m perfectly capable of looking after the children – and the cars,” I claim in mock indignation.
So, tonight when he skyped from South Korea after receiving my text about the broken-down car, I had some explaining to do.
“Erm, yes, the car. I just left it there. And the boys. Yes, both fine. But I have to work tomorrow, and so a complete stranger is picking LB up from school.”
Not a complete stranger, of course – she’s another (very nice) mum with a child in the same class who I talked to for the first time today after a moment of mummy desperation, in which I realised I couldn’t let LB (and our nanny) come hurtling home at 130kph in a taxi.
Now, I just have to keep everything crossed that LB actually agrees to go with her, walks to her car and climbs in it – because, as we all know, shepherding three-year-old children is rather like herding cats.