Six years ago.
My boyfriend and I wake up at about 11am…if you call the hell we have stirred into wakefulness. I have never been a morning person. Something had crawled down my throat, had a huge crap and then died. But before it did…it poured sand in my eyes and used my head as a timpani. I was sure of it. I could never have done this to myself voluntarily.
As we groaned and shuffled out of bed zombie style…before zombies were fashionable…the chaos which greeted us throughout our house meant the percussion section of the orchestra started again in my head. Bottles and half eaten food everywhere. Ah yes…our housewarming. It was fantastic. I loved every minute. Just not the next morning. The tidy up. The frantic texts from hungover friends that started coming in. “What did I do/say? Should I apologise to …? What was up with…last night? She was such a bitch!” Groan.
So I’d start to cook bacon and eggs to fill our roiling stomachs and to avoid the mental and physical clean up for that little while longer…
Six years later.
The baby wakes me at 6am. A Sunday sleep in. Win. And since changing our toddler’s room around, it is the first time in over three weeks that she hasn’t woken on the hour from 3am with nightmares. Double win.
It had been a latish night – 1130pm – but a sober one. After three months of thwarted planning due to the infectious evils of a Canberra Winter, I had finally caught up with a friend from my Mother’s group for dinner – sans children. The sort of friend who when your son goes abruptly to hospital will look after your toddler without reservations and with just a text message. And will then send you photos of them happily playing together, while you are watching your son try to breathe. The guilt for choosing to be with one child instead of the other….instantly alleviated. Which is of course exactly what she wisely intended.
The next morning my separated stomach muscles ached not from heaving into a toilet, but from laughing at our comparative stories of ‘who is the worst mother’, until tears streaked my uneven eyeliner. A rare and treasured friendship.
Six years on I’m still not a morning person. I have taught my daughter not to nag me until I have had my first cup of coffee. So now she leaves me this on my side of the bed:
The cat obviously isn’t a morning feline so gets one too:
Instead of post-party clean ups, now Sundays consist of me trying to plan for the week ahead and catch up on the week just gone. It involves the Sisyphean task of emptying all three washing baskets, writing shopping lists, Woolworths, ALDI, Costco. Sterilising bottles. Packing bags for childcare. Planning the weekly dinner menu. Budgeting how much money was left at the end of the fortnight. I’ve stopped the last one recently. My daughter now uses the budget book for drawing paper.
My husband (that 6-years-ago-boyfriend) will change the kitty litter, strip and change the beds… generally tidy up the cyclone of toys throughout the day. He will follow my commando crawling son around and prevent him from treating the cat as a chew toy and he will cook tonight’s dinner. And generally do any pre-allocated tasks in-between. The division of effort isn’t always equitable (on either side). But overall we make a good team.
I still have most of my friends from those partying days…the friendships based on the solid foundation of shared values. Some have drifted away. Others cut themselves off completely. In hindsight-what a relief. Those were the ‘friends’ with the self created dramas and frantic texts refusing to accept responsibility for their actions and hoping I’d mediate on their behalf.
Nope. No more.
Six years later, instead of mediating with a hangover, I’m trying to create a habit of a cooked Sunday family breakfast. Purely so we sit down as a family and talk and laugh. I’m not always successful. Sometimes I overcook the eggs. Sometimes I undercook the bacon. I’m the only one who will eat any spinach or mushrooms. My daughter claims the spinach is actually seaweed. I know my husband secretly agrees. But it’s nice when your son sucks determinedly on a piece of bacon while giving you a greasy toothy grin of happiness.
So now my Sunday mornings are still noisy and messy. But they are without drama. Without toxicity. Without artifice. And full of love. And bacon.
Ps-Sorry for not buying you a birthday card Fluffy. But I still reckon I’m the only friend who bought you pearls while you were in Baghdad. 😉