Last Saturday, for the first time in what seems like ages, I met my girlfriends in London for brunch. Now you may think that sounds pretty ordinary but I can tell you the behind-the scenes arrangements were like a military operation! Apparently it is too much to ask that one parent can take one child to a rugby match, and then three hours later take the other one to a swimming lesson. And don’t even mention having to then deliver the first child to a sleepover. That’s 3 trips too many, I’m told, and at least one of them would have had to be cancelled. However, luckily for me the Gods were on my side and the 3 cms of snow that descended on the Home Counties over the past few days meant that my corner of the world had come to a standstill and all sports fixtures were off! Phew!
With one obstacle overcome, I managed to drive into London effortlessly (as no one else was keen to brave the thin sliver of snow and ice it seems), and meet my girlfriends for brunch. It was something I’d looked forward to for a while. Although we were at university together and lived together afterwards for a good few years, since getting married and having children our lives have changed considerably meaning that apart from anything else, timing and location mean we, unfortunately, meet very rarely. In fact the previous lunch was about 9 months ago. During that time, one of my friends, H, has done her Masters Degree and is now embarking on a three year Ph.D. at Kings College, London (pretty amazing, I know!). Another, C, has decided to move back to London after spending the last 9 years in Spain, and M has been toying with the idea of getting back into the working arena too. I have formed a company, sold a company and started this blog! So – lots to catch up on then!
It was just fantastic to catch up with everyone – we didn’t stop talking for 6 hours! In fact it was 4.30pm before we left the restaurant. The others were dabbling with the idea of going on somewhere but I needed to get back home. Or did I? Actually I could probably have left the kids and my husband to carry on with their day – I think they were having a great time and probably hadn’t even stopped to wonder when I would be back. But the expectation, in my mind at least, was that I had spent quite a while away from the family and that now it was my duty to go back. This guilt is what made me return at that time. Why on earth I felt this way, I cannot explain but I believe a lot of mothers in my situation would have done the same thing. I just couldn’t shift the guilt that I would have felt had I stayed on for a few hours. Of course, having returned home an hour later, I found everything as it should be and there was therefore no reason I should have felt anxious, but by then I could hardly turn around and go back!
All in all though, the 6 hours I did spend were just marvellous and the conversations that we had, both nostalgic, thought provoking, serious and downright hilarious were just the medicine I needed. I arrived home buzzing and that made for a lovely evening with the family, instead of the usual monotony of bed time! It did make me think that the next time we meet, maybe we should stretch it to an overnighter, or maybe even a whole weekend!