Mum has been staying with us lately which has been great. For us. For her, I think it’s a bit of a challenge.
We have a tiny house, just two bedrooms and they’re pretty full at the moment. We also have a little cottage on our property which is the perfect place for visiting friends and family. But it’s currently full of furniture that is too big, unnecessary or we just don’t know what to do with but don’t want to get rid of yet; baby furniture and toys and boxes of nostalgia that we can’t part with, so it’s not the most comfortable place to stay. Hence, the mattress on the floor in the dining/play room arrangement for mum.
In our defence, at least it’s the queen size mattress and I like to think that it gives mum the full, authentic experience. Cos, you know, after having four of her own kids, she hasn’t had enough ‘authentic’ experiences of parenthood. At our place, she has the now obsolete high chairs as a statement bedside table (because we haven’t got around to taking them to the cottage for storage yet) and gets to fall asleep to the dulcet tones of Tex scratching on the door because he’d love to be bed with her.
When mum comes to stay, she cooks up a storm and generally leaves enough for us to eat for a week. Well for Shane and the boys anyway. It’s a well known fact that whilst Shane is happy to eat vegetarian, he’d much prefer at least one kind of meat at every meal. So she whips up lasagne, stew, roast, you name it, she’s making it. This trip, she’s also perfected the chocolate mug cake as a quick afternoon tea or dessert. Which is delicious, I just don’t need to eat any more of them. She has an apron at our house that says ‘get the cook a bottle of wine’ and she definitely deserves it. But getting to the bottle of wine is an effort in itself.
Our Tex is a fairly enthusiastic dog who loves to show his affection by jumping up frantically and licking obsessively and mum just doesn’t appreciate that. So in order to get to her wine collection in the cellar she has to do battle with Tex, then the dodgy gate on the way to the cellar, the steep stairs and the dog following her and the temperamental lock on the cellar door. And then repeat the process on her way back. She needs the wine.
I’m generally a big picture person and I often have quite grandiose ideas and little to no idea how to execute them. Luckily for me, Shane and mum are ‘doers’. This weekend, my idea has been to rip out a section of garden and replant it. Turns out, it’s a pretty big job. I was flat out preparing iced tea concoctions, chilling champagne and offering words of encouragement.
When mum finally does get to go to bed, she has to pick her way through the Duplo, apple skin and soft toys which have been put to bed throughout the day. And sometimes she has to retrieve her doona from various hiding spots around the house because it’s been used as prop to dress up a dragon, a dinosaur and/or peacock. It’s a far cry from our lodgings earlier in the week where we debated which was better; The Windsor or The Intercontinental. But I like to think that what we lack in style and comfort, we make up for in love and good times.