I drove a 3 hour round trip for an important meeting. The work I stayed up until midnight last night preparing missed the meeting because it was at home, sat on my printer. I went to another meeting so late that I missed the people I was meant to be meeting.
I received a text from a friend inviting me to a 'Mums to Marathons' club tonight. A what now? was my reply. I was stuffing myself with a McDonalds when I read this. I'm having a good stab at the 'mum' part of this club, the 'marathon' aspect is most probably far beyond me.
I got home to an overtired Dope. She was clingy, whiny, teary, angry. You know, all the best bits of a toddler. Buda looked like a zombie and was just lying on the floor with her.
I started dinner. I put the radio on and exhaled as I had the kitchen to myself. I wondered how long I could stretch out my food prep to make this moment of respite last that bit longer.
Before I managed to even finish this thought, Dope burst into the kitchen. She pulled and tugged on me, wound her way between my legs and squealed in frustration at me. Then she left me alone and everything went quiet. That ominous, my-child-is-up-to-something type of quiet. Sure enough, she was waist deep in the washing machine. I lifted her out and then she had me. She put her arms and legs around me in a vice like grip. I'd fallen into her trap and she wasn't letting me go. The chicken was burning. I peeled her off me and put her on the floor. She screamed the type of scream that only a rebuffed toddler can scream.
Buda arrived brandishing a mini karaoke machine. My heart sank. I had thought that would be a good birthday present for Dope. I quickly reaslised it wasn't. As I feared, the Oki-Koki begins. Dope continues some low level protesting and bangs the microphone on the floor but is appeased enough to sit still.
Buda starts washing the pots in the way only Buda can. The tap goes on full blast, all of the dishes get clunked and banged into each other, Buda sings. He sings a Nepali song. If you're not familiar with Nepali music then you should now just take a moment to be thankful for that. It is atonal, croony and - when Buda is singing - loud.
I gripped the pan handle and stared at the burning chicken. The radio, the sizzling pan, the grizzling toddler, the Oki-Koki, the banging microphone, the tap, the clanking pots and now the Nepali singing. It really was too much. And believe me, I don't do well in these situations. My go-to response is to bang things around in stony silence to make my point. I sometimes flounce out of the room. I have been known growl loudly and tell my family to 'PLEASE. SHUT. UP.' But something odd happened tonight. I became the calm in the eye of the storm.
As I stood among the chaos and noise I realised that this was a good moment, one to be kept safe.
I sensed a flash as my memory captured this moment. One day when I'm old and Dope has left home and Buda off kayaking rivers or Kung-Fu-ing around the world, I will be lonely. I won't be scrabbling after the quiet, it will be scary. The silence then will be more deafening than any racket my family can make now. And so the memory was kept. It is tucked away now, stored alongside the thousands of other moments that I just couldn't let pass. One day I will dig this particular memory out and mull it over. And in that moment, I will remember that for a while we were all here together, doing life. How great is that?