Now I don’t know about you, but my memory is kaput, my ability to recollect fuzzier than the morning after a rake of raki* shots on my Greek holiday with the girls in 2000.
So I have advice for you- very simple but it works. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. Do not even CONSIDER relying on your memory at this stage in the game, as this is pointless. You will forget things and be cross with yourself or worry that the heat and alcohol abuse during lockdown has brought on a mini stroke. Make a spread sheet; journal, get your fridge magnet thingy up to date. You need it.
What a couple of years we have all had. What a lot of new and rapidly changing information to process. What a lot of life changes, usually in the form of getting a dog, to be fair, but this sure does impact upon family life, having to feed and walk the fecker, for starters. (The Mothership is going to be on the blower within seconds of reading this. Don’t DARE be calling Tilly a fecker. Tilly is MARVELLOUS.’)
My inability to retain information is at an all time high today. The children are at tennis camp until half 12: so far so good. But the Small one has then been invited to a birthday party, about which she is almost LEVITATING with excitement. ‘I LOVE seeing my friends,’ she said earlier. ‘And the thing about the girls in my class is that they aren’t squealers. Squealers hurt my head.’ Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree there, does it?
Meanwhile, other friends have kindly offered to take the Older Child to the park, at approximately the same time, so I have to try not to forget about that. I want to go to the running club later, but that coincides with when the aforementioned child who has football training. I thought all that football was over for the summer, but apparently not. Who knew? Definitely not me. ‘Sure it’s grand,’ I said to LSB, ‘I can do the toing and froing- It’s not like I’ve anything on later.’
‘Yes you do, you have your class’, he said, looking at me like I’d just developed early on-set dementia. ‘Remember the writing course, the one you started yesterday?
And I had, of course, completely forgotten. It’s the week of the John Hewitt Festival and I signed up for three sessions on memoir writing. I did the first of these yesterday afternoon, and fabulous it was too. I was all, ‘Best thing I’ve done in ages! I’m so motivated! Go me!’ And within 24 hours I’d completely erased it from my memory. This sort of thing worries me, and I didn’t even drink last night.
But listen, here’s the craic. As humans we are essentially creatures of habit, and our routine has been shot to fuck. Holidays are trying for parents, when the kids are all doing things at different times, in different places. It looks dreadful when you leave your children standing for half an hour in the blazing sun because you thought their camp finished at 2pm when it turns out to be half one. Hell though, these things happen. Family friends of ours once zoomed off merrily from a service station in France, before a child chirped up ‘Where’s Frank?’ when she noticed that the youngest was missing. Frank, bless him, was standing at the petrol pumps, having a wee cry to himself. I love that story: it always makes me feel better about my parenting.
Let’s not forget too that we had a heatwave, which addled my already frazzled brain. ‘Helen’s on strike,’ LSB reported to the Mothership, as the children’s recounted all the different takeaway meals we’d eaten last week. Well, I’m sorry, but if they weren’t all such a bunch of fussy feckers it might have been easier to rustle something up, but I was too melted, both figuratively and literally to make this happen.
The point of this post? Write it all down. Make a note of start times and end times and remove ambiguity from your life. You need to harness any energy you have in this weather and not be frittering away your limited brain capacity with uncertainties.
*raki is like tequila but without the finesse.