If everything goes as planned (and how often does that happen?), I think I might just have survived my last ever Scramblers. A nice, ordinary, morning, only two Calebs this time and no interruptions. In fact, total, engrossed, silence as the story teller told her tale*. Some bewildered desolation when they realised that the changes from last week are going to stay changed -no more squash and biscuits but plenty of fruit and water. One small boy whispering weepily "oh where is my biscuit?" But, no longer my problem, I've finished my last sunday, and might actually be able to get back into church again. Between rota'd Sundays, Sundays where I've had too many extra children to be able to justify the dump and run approach, and Sundays when one or all of us have been ill, I think I've managed just one Sunday morning in church since the beginning of September. I'm quite looking forwards to being able to be a grown up again.
Home, managing to dodge the horizontal rain showers, but in doing so managing to roll Little Fish in her wheelchair, landing her face down in a puddle, her chair on top of her. Cue one fat lip and banged eye just in time for school tomorrow. Lovely.
And then no more rain, and a beautiful walk over to my parents' house for an equally beautiful lunch (and no washing up). Starting to think about Christmas presents, I cryptically suggested Snakes and Ladders as an option for Little Fish. Too cryptic; Mum promptly found a set she'd been saving for the right moment, and handed it over there and then. Oh well; it showed I was right; LF did indeed enjoy playing it and actually understood most of the rules (although not the point of keeping your counters on the board and not in your mouth...).
Back home again, via Budgens for some essentials, and via church to drop something off. Mog and I did the Budgens run, Mum and Little Fish did the church bit. And then Mum turned up without Little Fish, having left her at church gatecrashing a Light party. It would have worked wonderfully, except she was overdue a trip to the loo, so I had to extract her. A quick conversation, and both girls stayed at church leaving me free to saunter home and enjoy the freedom.
Until I got home, and realised my doorkeys were in Mog's bag.
Dumping the shopping by the front door, I sauntered equally slowly back to church, kicking through the leaves as I went, and pretending I was having a nice long healthy Autumnal walk. And then I realised I'd left my purse in the shopping bag, which I'd left by the front door, because who was likely to be interested in a packet of ham and some chocolate spread?
Picking up the pace, I crashed the party for the third time, extracted the keys, admired Little Fish's instant integration into the group and smiled at Mog with a pile of glitter. And quick-stepped it home to find bag safely on the ramp with purse neatly sticking out from the top. Sometimes my incompetence impresses even me. But I'll go for "don't we have an honest neighbourhood" instead, combined with minor impressedness with the fact I had for once failed to leave any easily accessible windows open.
After which, the free afternoon I thought I'd suddenly gained had somehow shrunk to half an hour, far too short to do anything sensible. So I sat down and did nothing, and revelled in the peace.
There's something about the silence of a house with no children in it which is utterly different from the silence of a house with sleeping children. The lack of snoring and ventilator sound effects could have something to do with it, I suppose, but it's more than that. It's the luxury of knowing I could be doing anything at all in these few minutes; I could leave the house without arranging for alternative care, I could put earplugs in or play music really loudly, I could cook and eat soemthing without having to share it. Or I could choose to just sit quietly, and be off duty for a while.
And from tomorrow, I should be getting a solid six hours of that on a regular basis again. Hurrah!
*Which leads me to wonder, why can the 3-5 year olds in Scramblers stay silent for a story, the 7-10 year olds in Brownies stay silent too, and yet we cannot get total silence for even 30 seconds from the 10-14 year old Guides? What happens when they move up, and why do they suddenly think muttering in an undertone isn't going to be heard by the Guider trying valiantly to make herself heard over the top?