This morning I was at the supermarket trying to cram as much as possible into my trolley in record time, (it's my day off......there are books to be read and tea to be drunk) when I ran into an acquaintance I hadn't seen for a while. We exchanged polite chit-chat before she hit me with THIS bombshell; 'I saw you out and about with your children the other day' Gulp, here we go, I thought, insert some criticism veiled thinly as advice regarding offsprings vile behaviour here. 'They were SOOOOOO well behaved, you must be so proud............'
Well, my jaw hit the floor, my eyeballs shot out of my head and in the stunned silence that followed you could have heard a pin drop. My first thought was 'that couldn't be me, she's mistaken me for someone else - some other blonde, late 30-something lady with 4 kids- there's plenty of us around. My second thought was 'maybe I could track down this amazing doppelganger of mine and we can trade kids, I'm sure she won't mind.' Supermarket lady was adamant though; it was definitely me; 'Your youngest was wearing a tutu, crop top and gumboots' Okay, yeah, definitely mine then, my youngest is the only nearly 7 year old on the Gold Coast who is still kicking 3 year old demented fairy fashion.
Well, after that encounter I had a spring in my step and joy in my heart; 'My children are well behaved!' I sang quietly in my head as I conquered the fruit and veg section. 'My children are well behaved!' I wanted to blurt to the checkout dude as he took a million hours to load my groceries, 'My children are well behaved!' I grunted as I heaved my monstrosity of a trolley to the parked car. 'MY CHILDREN ARE WELL BEHAVED!!!' I stuck my head out the car window, blared music out of the stereo and felt the sunshine on my face as I drove home.
The reason for such unadulterated joy? The feeling that maybe.....just maybe I haven't stuffed up this parenting gig entirely. That despite the fact that my children spend a good portion of their time screaming at each other, leaving apple cores under the couch and half drunk glasses of curdled milk on windowsills, that there is a teeny, tiny chance that I am doing a good job and that I am building good people.
When the 15 year old's boss comments on his amazing work ethic.
When the 13 year old comes home with mostly A's and excellent behavior on her report card.
When Mr 9's teacher tells me how polite and well-mannered he is.
When Miss 6 lights up a room with her cheeky smile and joie de vivre.
When our Friday afternoons are filled with laughter, mess, games and relaxation together. Those moments, those times, are telling me I'm doing a good job. And guess what? I bet you are too.