Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two worlds combined

The weekend was a great success. Most importantly the birthday boy had a wonderful time surrounded by his friends. The children had a good time too, and didn't break anything or hurt themselves. The weather was good, the house was perfect, the food excellent, the cocktails and wine plentiful and the poolside banter was wry and stimulating.

Yet I came home exhausted. Keeping track of the needs of two small kids in a strange house was wearing. What with snacks, naps, diapers, incessant demands for help with puzzles or playdough, sunscreen or armbands I felt that barely managed a sip of cocktail, a page of my book, a scrap of conversation without interruption.  I felt a gulf between the life of a parent and that of the child free. Most of the guests were childless, either by choice or because they just haven't found the right time for a family yet. All of them were quite lovely with the kids, and did play with them and entertain them extensively, but still, it is mummy they come to when they need something and need it RIGHT NOW. Its only the parents who have to curtail the evening high jinks knowing that morning will come around way too early and way too loudly.

Geekydaddy feels this difference in lifestyle acutely, and though we didn't speak of it directly, I tacitly gave him the weekend "off" kid duty by agreeing to him playing bartender. Once he knew that the house had a poolside bar he procured his mixology supplies and spent a good part of each day muddling up delicious beverages. To his credit he did spend the rest of the time playing with the kids in the pool. I knew this division of labor would leave me as the one to make sure the children were not dehydrated, hungry, overtired, over-televisioned or burning in the sun.

As I drifted in and out of conversations wondering where I had put my drink down, I envied, just a little, my friends who are only answerable to their own needs. We are all about the same age, but having kids forces you to grow up in a different way.  I found myself longing, selfishly, for a few days away just with Geekydaddy, lounging by a pool sipping cocktails. But then I kicked myself and realized how lucky I am to have such great and dear friends, friends with fabulous children of their own, friends who ensure that my kids are welcomed and catered for on their own special occasions and who tell me how wonderful they are at every opportunity. And of course, a husband who can mix a mean mojito.