My Perfect Family

I’m smart enough to know what goes in everyone else’s houses.  Yes, I know that other people’s children are always respectful, co-operative and anxious to do whatever they can to help around the house.

Possibly, that obvious fact accounts for some of my insecurities regarding the complete lack of discipline in my own house and the refusal of my children to subscribe to the concept of chores.

And yet, every now and then, something beautiful happens and we accomplish a task – any task – in an atmosphere of cheerful collaboration.

Last week, as Thanksgiving dinner loomed, I optimistically instructed my offspring to show up half an hour early to help get the meal on the table – a delightful vision that I created in my head to replace the more realistic image of them sitting down precisely at the stated time and demanding to know why they don’t have food in front of them.

I wasn’t kidding myself of the likelihood of actually getting any help, but like a tiny beam of light on a dark night, one little star fell into alignment and I suddenly had a kitchen full of chattering teenagers getting out dishes, cutlery and glasses.  I thought it was the most beautiful thing imaginable until after the meal, when they all stuck around to clear the table and help clean the kitchen.

I’m not sure who has taken my children and replaced them with these strange beings, but I’m okay with the substitution.

Even if my real children do return, it makes me feel that, when they leave for the big wide world, they might just understand that the dishes aren’t magically cleared away by a fairy as soon as you leave the room.

Ah, the bliss of that small, glorious moment of perfection.

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A Message from the Universe

Sometimes the Universe just steps in and takes control.

Last weekend I headed into the mountains for a conference for women in business.  Oh joy!  A chance to abandon all motherly duties and just get away from them all … er, I mean from it all.

The morning of my departure my cellphone died, resisting many and varied attempts at resuscitation.  Oh, dear, I thought – how will anyone contact me when they want to know where the remote is or whether they can have $2 for 7/11 (the fact that I am clearly not home never seems to dampen their faith that I can navigate them, sight unseen, towards any random object – and telepathically materialize money).

Must be the universe, I thought, telling me to just leave it all behind and enjoy a quiet, peaceful weekend free from texts and voicemail.

Actually it was odd not to be able to direct reminders and instructions as I thought of them.  I wondered, for instance, whether the youngest would get to trampoline and tumbling on Sunday.  They’re not morons, I told myself and dismissed the concern.

Still, the isolation was blissful and the company invigorating.  Oh, to spend the weekend in the company of adults talking, not about offspring, but about our businesses and grown-up lives.  Yes, wine, women and even song!

I even got slightly excited about upgrading my aging Blackberry and adding some of this decade’s features.

When I got home I plugged it in to demonstrate its tragic demise.  Cooperatively, it lay dim and lifeless for about 2 hours, but then, like Doctor Who regenerating, it miraculously sprang back to life.

It would seem that, back  home, I must now resign myself to once again being the go-to girl for all things ridiculous.  And that’s okay, because it was actually quite nice to be back.

And, by the way, my son didn’t get to trampoline and tumbling because he slept in, and apparently my husband doesn’t know he has it.