At a recent business meeting I was reminded of the bare faced optimism that is motherhood. We repeatedly put ourselves into situations where we clearly know better, but continue to hope for a positive outcome. Let me explain.
The mom of two I was meeting with was running a little late. I felt smug about being on time (for once) and was pondering her delay. I thought rain was the reason but deep down I suspected it was most likely short-person delay. Puking, last minute ablutions or standing in dog doo just before getting in the car are hot favourites. These might seem like authentic delays, but essentially kids are just like dogs. They seem to sense your urgency and deliberately go slow, just to be on the safe side. Before I had shorties I used to feel sympathetic toward them. You know; be patient with kids, their legs are much shorter than yours, they can only walk slowly, bla bla bla. Bull dust and the horse they rode in on! Watch a child bearing down on the sweet aisle at Woolies and you’ll see for yourself that they’re capable of speed that puts Usain Bolt to shame. Slowness is a tactic. Don’t be hoodwinked into thinking they can’t keep up.
When mom in question arrives, her slow exit from the car indicates that yes, she’s brought a short person along. For real. Holy smoke, I think to myself (having tried this once before myself), brave, brave woman. I consider ordering two strong whiskeys’ immediately but no, 10am is simply too early. As she gets out of her car, her face is one of resigned slowness and I know that mentally she’s been rushing like a racehorse to get here on time. Short person disembarks. The rain has eased up but it’s still spitting hard. Short person sees no reason to hurry. The mom, patient and unflustered, sits short-person down, gets out colouring books and crayons and orders an Appetizer. Hoo boy! If it were my ankle biters, I know I’d have to spread the diversions out over the whole meeting.
Colour, colour, sip, sip, meet, meet, chatter. Just as we’re getting to the meat of things, sploosh, Appetizer goes for a ball. Said mom now has her dammit-face on though I’m not concerned because I know a dammit-face is quite a few faces from the eff-it-I’ve-had-enough-face. No worries I assure her, this is old school for me and for this reason I always wear black to meetings. Mop up, dry table, rescue last bit of Appetizer. Business talk interrupted by: Moommm - low-pitched, background buzz. Mo om - getting louder and more insistent. Moooooooommmmm! Can no longer be ignored. Shortie needs a wee. Rolling-eyes-face appears. I order another latte and quietly thank the lord that my interrupters have been left at home with the sitter. Meeting resumes, and as a last ditch attempt to divert short-person so that we can wrap things up, I mention that there might be some pixies in a nearby planter. Short person gives me visual savage bat a.k.a middle finger with her eyes. Round one, two and three to whippersnapper. I feel clenched-teeth-face is imminent and we decide it’s probably best to finish off. Just as we’re both thinking “why the bloody ‘ell did we do it”, short person stops at the planter on our way out and looks up questioningly at me. I think to myself, maybe I won one round after all.