I got a phone call at 8am, it’s always the same person at that time of the morning. You know the time of day when you are trying to wipe Vegemite off the sofa, make a packed lunch, and pluck grey hairs out of your fringe at the same time as trying to braid your screeching 8 year olds hair. Yes, Mr W always calls me at 8 am, and wonders why there is so much background noise, and why I am only half listening.
This mornings important 8 o’clock phone call was to ask me what I would like to do for my birthday this weekend. He’s a sweet man. More often than not he has planned a wonderful weekend full of treats, we go away, we go to dinner, I have my nails done, we talk to each other with no interruptions….. But, and its a big but, we have moved away from all our full weekend babysitters, so this morning, at 8:05 he is asking what I would like to do….as a family.
So, I did what they do in the movies. I pushed the pause button on life, everyone stopped still, and I thought long and hard for 10 seconds. I want to go to a hotel, have some spa treatments, room service, read endless piles of magazines, paint my toenails without anyone standing on my feet, shave my legs without forty questions from Monty about what I’m doing, lie on the bed without someone jumping next to me. I want to walk down the street without someone hanging off me, or walking forwards while looking backwards… I want to eat chocolate without sharing, I want to go to the shops without going via the play area, I want to drink endless gin and tonics without worrying about tomorrow mornings wake up call… Oh and I want breakfast in bed, I want all of these things… I want to be…… On my own for a whole weekend.
Is that mean? Can I say that to him? I can’t say I want to be in silence all weekend, with no bottoms to wipe or tantrums to deal with. I can’t say I don’t want to make any meals for anyone or wash any dishes….Can I tell him I just want to have some “me time?” Does that sound better? Oh no, that sounds like I’m leaving them! Am I an evil person for wanting to go off on my own for a whole weekend? Who cares?! He did ask the question. I pressed ‘play’ on life and said through a mouthful of toast, “I don’t mind darling, what shall WE do?” (I chickened out!)
My husband is a legend. He is a superstar. I feel bad for even writing the above. He cooks, he cleans, he is fully house trained, he’s a wonderful, hands on father, he spoils us, nothing is too much trouble…. He brought us all to Australia for goodness sake. Yet, in the midst of all his wonderfulness, our lives are chaotic. Like anyone with two or more (why would you?) children with very little help around. So, although I adore my beautiful, noisy family, on my 35th birthday I would ideally like to be jetting off to Ibiza with my girlfriends for a weekend of fun, freedom, and fake tan, not forgetting all the other things listed above.
Turning 35 is a game changer for me. I am at the point where my dark hair is no longer attainable. I spend far too much time parting my hair in the least grey way. I have started to make too many funny faces in the mirror while patting under my chin, hoping to rid my face of wrinkles and saggyness. I find loud music in shops completely overwhelming, I can’t concentrate and run for the exit, looking at the skinny teenagers through jealous eyes while tutting as loudly as I can. (Used to die when my mum did that!) I feel like I dance like an old woman when I go out, I am wearing make up like it’s filler, and am terrified to even go to the gym without it on.. Yes! I am that woman….. I don’t think I know who’s in the charts? Do they still have charts? When we go to the park I find dragging the “flying fox” back up for the next kids turn completely draining and will avoid it at all costs. I tell the children to be quiet while I concentrate…. I say things like “you’ll catch your death without a sweater!” I actually sigh when I bend down to pick up the dirty undies that EVERYONE in this house leaves on the floor. I squint when looking at the number on the bus…. I squint…… The list is endless. I am changing. I am getting there, I am about to get to the brow of the hill where there is only one way off … and that’s down.
OK, OK, I know loads of you will be thinking “35 is still young” or “oh to be 35 again”, and I get that. I get that if you’re 60, then yes thirty five is still a spring chicken. However, it doesn’t mean that hitting 35 isn’t a bit of a shock to my system. I’ve never been this near to 40. I’ve never had to wax my top lip so often.
When my dad turned 50 (only 15 years away for me now (see what I mean)) we thought it would be hysterical to buy him all sorts of “elderly person” stuff. We bought him denture cleaning tablets, driving gloves, a beaded car seat cover, men’s hair dye.. Oh how we laughed, I think we may have even snorted… Looking back on that I can’t help but shout “How evil was that!!” Totally unacceptable, and I am praying there are no such jokes in this house at the weekend.
So, my birthday weekend is nearly here, just the four of us. I wonder what fun is ahead. There will definitely be a cake of some sort, I wont be allowed to blow out the candles, and the children will definitely argue about who blew what and when. There are always lovely presents and cards, none of which will I be allowed to open, (I recall Monty telling me I was too weak to open my presents last year) and I am pretty sure I will get my lovely breakfast in bed, so I’m not complaining really. It’s more the number that’s disturbing me, than the crazy cats I get to spend it with.
I guess I would feel younger if it weren’t for the hair, the kids, the tummy that just won’t go flat again, the cellulite, the squinting and the desire to start a knitting circle. Maybe I should go to Ibiza! I’ll get my glitter on, dance like no ones watching, down umpteen crudely named shots and possibly try getting arrested? Maybe after all that I’ll be glad to get back to being 35 year old me, sorting laundry, doing the school run and stretching out my crows feet. That’s if I survive the trip…. Who’s coming?