|Image from here|
While he languishes under the heavy weight and noise of stay-at-home duties for four active children, she is off refreshing herself with adult company, a lunch of her very own and some peace and quiet aka work.
As she quietly re-enters the chaos at home, she notices the strain on her partner's face. His failing patience as he is asked the same question for the 400th time that day by one child, while another whinges that he is hungry and the other two are wrestling on the couch; tossing each other off, getting more and more brutal until it ends, inevitably, in tears. He mumbles "I told you so" under his breath, whilst feigning interest in the distressed child. He too is suffering sympathy fatigue.
He looks up to find her there. Looking on. Concerned for him. Worried that he has too much on his plate, with the kids, the business and all that. They exchange a kiss. He sighs.
She greets the children who look up meekly from their latest activity. They run to her. They hug her. They tell her they love her best. She looks at him. He looks disappointed. She tells him they tell her that they love Daddy more. Swings and roundabouts.
She wanders amongst the sea of toys, slowly picking them up as she catches up of the adventures of the household.
The eldest tells tales of school and the birth of a new baby brother for a friend.
The middle child says he didn't watch enough TV and thinks tomorrow should be a pyjamas day in front of the box (just for something different).
The two youngest seek permission to jump on the bed. He doesn't allow that. She does, from time to time. They know whose buttons to push.
As she gradually declutters the loungeroom and dining room in readiness for the meal that he has prepared, she learns about the activities of the day (Lego, blocks, Snakes and Ladders and cars) the tension in the house gradually subsides. The noise levels return to a dull roar and the household members respond positively to the sense of space and clarity that the clear table and floor bring.
They sit and each their meal. They laugh. He and she drink wine. He says he loves her.
They are together and life is so much easier when they are together.
The players in this scene could easily be reversed. They both know the drill. One complements the other and provides energy when the other lacks it. They are a team. People parent in pairs for a reason.
This post goes out to all of you who do this parenting gig on your own. I can honestly say that you inspire me each and every day.
*Voting in the Sydney Writer's Centre Australia's Best Blog People's Choice Award finishes today at 5PM. If you haven't already, head over and cast your vote for my sister Maxabella Loves.