A rare opportunity arose recently, when Rei returned from work with news. His boss had offered all members of the team to go out for dinner, in a highly rated local restaurant. Not only that, but he also offered to pay for their partners to go too.
I’ve been living here now for almost six years. And I’ve never been invited by his boss before. And to a posh restaurant… All expenses paid!!! My excitement erupted.
Last year we had the lovely Lisa to babysit, but now she’s off to University. And it’s true to say we have not really made the effort to find someone new. We’ve toyed with the idea, of course. But it’s hard you know, to find someone willing to take on four kids, with such differing ages and needs. Then there’s the ADHD. My preferred choice would be an adult.
So Reini comes home. Announces his news. I am elated. And then sink. No sitter.
A good friend has watched them a few times and offers to again but it looks like she may be on holiday, for most of the possible dates on offer.
Rei calls. One of his colleagues doesn’t want to attend and Rei asked him if he could watch the kids. He said yes!!
Ok. The truth is he looked scared, then he said yes. But still.
He knows the kids.
They know him.
We all like him.
He, well, he used to like us.
A date is entered into the calender and we wait. We anticipate.
We offer Frank the opportunity to back down. Get out. But he stands true to his word.
That Thursday afternoon is a stressful one. The men arrive and I am shouting. It’s not the way I had intended to greet Frank. I had hoped to put him at ease. Too late.
I have actually ironed a dress. I even have make-up on. I rip my stockings on the way out of the door and we have to go shopping first. I destroy two pairs in the shop, but the third remain intact. My effort is noted by my husband. Though not echoed by the other guests. They all dress down. In jeans and shirts. No other stay-at-home-mums here then. I am completely overdressed. But I don’t care. I am out in the world of grown ups and I feel fine.
The food is delicious. We eat and drink and be merry.
Then we return, slightly nervously, home to Frank. Are we still friends?
He greets us in a cheery mood. All the children are in bed. Everything is tidy. Not only has he survived, he is also impressed. With Akasha.
They have played together side by side and he is entranced. Beverages have been offered. Frank asked, “Would you like carbonated or still water in your apple juice?”.
Akasha appeared confused.
Frank thought to himself.
“Would you like water with bubbles in it or without bubbles?”
At this point I need to reveal a fact to you, dear reader. Over the winter months Frank had done something new. He had grown his hair. He now possessed long curly locks that instead of growing down the way, as is the tradition. Very coolly, twisted and twirled, generally out the way, or, even up the way. In a style unaccustomed to me with my poker straight hair.
Akasha answered, “Without bubbles.”
“Just like me. I take my water without bubbles too,” Frank cooed.
Akasha calmly responded, “That’s because you’ve got enough bubbles on your head.”