You're all going to think I'm a lazy slacker, but I have to admit I was actually away for a few days earlier this week...at the beach. YES, I know I was only just at the beach 2 weeks ago, but before that it was a year since I last beached it. We've had relatives staying, and they wanted us to all go spend time together at the beach (in two separate units, mind you. Six children and four adults in the one place might get a bit hairy). It would have been unpardonably rude to refuse such a demand.
So the best thing about going away for a few days with Fatty's brother and Fatty's brother's wife ('Blondie') and their 4 kids? Not the sun and surf, not the glass of Midori and lemonade Blondie and I drank on the balcony each evening. Not the giggling and whispering and muted shuffling of the children as they played that ancient game of hide & seek in the middle of the day. Not even the sea breezes blowing freshly through the balcony doors.
No. The best thing was - finding out that Blondie isn't an eternally-patient, eternally-calm mother like I thought. She's definitely patient, and she's calm considering what she has to deal with, but she's not perfect. Hooray, there's hope for me yet!
Blondie and I went out for provisions, and I noticed her husband was being very solicitous just before we set off. I wondered what it was about, until Blondie explained, " He's being extra nice to me now, because I just cried. It all got too much, and I cried". I offered that if I had 4 children, I'd probably cry every day. Blondie laughed and replied, "Oh, I find every second day does the trick!" I was glad Blondie felt comfortable enough to tell me this, and it also made me realise how reality is most often different from our perception. Who knows, maybe there are some who think I always have things under control (unlikely, but anything's possible!) The main message for me was - no one is perfect, and whenever we compare ourselves to others, it's important to remember that what we see is not always the entire picture.
I think I like Blondie even more now, and I certainly don't admire her any less. I like my heroes slightly flawed.