So this week me, Beaver and Godivy went on a road trip. Our first one as a girl trio. Slightly less rock and roll than most girl tours. Slightly more rice cakes. Here’s Part Two. Click here if you missed Part One.
The car journey lasted four and a half hours with one stop at the services where Beaver almost knocked herself out on the car door. Nothing a freezer block and a few Percy Pigs couldn’t cure. Although I realised the Percys were a mistake when she asked if she’d get more if she shut her fingers in the door.
Our road trip was going to be split between Wales and Bristol. Visiting friend without kids. Visiting friend with kids.
‘Why is that man so excited?’ said Beaver as we pulled up to friend without kids’ house. We’ll soon snap him out of that, I thought. And we did.
‘Sorry, it’s not very child-proof here,’ he said as Godivy tried to lick a can of spray designed to turn Hydrangeas blue. For some reason, the Glade air freshener had similar appeal. This trip was becoming rather enlightening what with Beaver’s sadistic tendencies and now Godivy’s substance abuse problem.
‘The best idea is to move everything out of sight,’ I said. And that is kind of how we spent the next 12 hours. Moving things. Taking turns to field Godivy who kept finding the things we had moved. And cleaning egg mayonnaise off his newly laminated floor.
I have to say I was quite relieved come bedtime when I could pack Beaver and Godivy away. And I realised it’s quite tricky visiting friends who don’t have kids. Possibly a bit unfair. Definitely a shock. Children seem much tamer in their own environment probably because of all the child-proofing. Take them out of it and it really is like unleashing wild animals from the zoo. Not even the zookeeper can stop them.
So it was a good thing we only disrupted his serene life for a night and left the next morning to visit friend with (three) kids. In thinking that would be an easier scenario I’d overlooked the fact we have five between us and aside from one seven year old, they are all under five. We were giving the Von Trapp family a run for their money.
With everyone having varying needs, the days were completely kid-centric. I’m used to having pockets of time where I do something else. But my friend is a more selfless, patient mother than I could ever hope to be. Her kids always come first and I salute her for that. After a crazily busy day, I listened to her read Beast Quest to her seven year old. It’s like a proper book. You know, lots of words, no pictures. I was in awe. I miss pages in Spot the Dog just to get to the wine quicker.
On our third day away, things started to fray a little around the edges as Beaver moved further out of her routine, Godivy got a sickness bug and I became more tired. I began to miss Daddy Pig. It’s blooming hard doing it on your own and away from home.
And then The Happiness Project emailed me an uncannily timed quote from George Moore. ‘A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.’
We were just on a road trip. I hadn’t been searching for anything in particular (apart from perhaps my sanity). But I suddenly knew exactly what he meant.
The homesickness was short-lived, of course. Within 15 minutes of being home, it was business as usual and I found myself dreaming up our next girls’ tour just to get the feeling back.
I’m thinking Scotland. For a week.
Ha ha. Only kidding.