Him­self’s ab­sence for three whole days meant a Free For All around the house

Bray People - - NEWS - Jus­tine O'Ma­hony

‘WHAT would you like for Christ­mas?’ I asked the 15-year-old dis­tract­edly on Sun­day morn­ing. ‘Break­fast!’ he replied snark­ily. He’d been ask­ing me to make him break­fast for an hour and I kept say­ing, ‘in a minute.’ I was ly­ing on the couch, with a mug of tea, read­ing the Sun­day pa­pers. Not even my son’s warn­ings of im­pend­ing star­va­tion were go­ing to shift me.

Of course in the end ma­ter­nal guilt kicked in (ei­ther that or I get fed up of his whing­ing) and I threw a few rash­ers un­der the grill. The thing is – I was solo par­ent­ing for the whole week­end as Him­self had gone to a trade show. This meant only one thing – A Free For All!

Him­self ’s ab­sence for three days meant no cook­ing, no clean­ing, lots of wine, a big roar­ing fire, cus­tody of the re­mote con­trol and the kids be­ing al­lowed to do pretty much what they like, save maim them­selves, each other, or burn the house down.

We ate take­away, stayed up late watch­ing rub­bish tv and ate a whole box of retro sweets

– re­fresh­ers, black jacks, wham bars and fruit sal­ads. ‘Mam, are you drunk?’ asked the 15-yearold, af­ter I’d eaten my

10th wham bar and was laugh­ing hys­ter­i­cally at

Gog­gle­box. ‘No,’ I replied,

‘ but it feels as good as be­ing drunk!’

You see when The Man

Of The House is at home, ev­ery­thing is run with mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion. He shouts at us to get up in the morn­ings, lam­basts me for schlep­ping around in my dress­ing gown af­ter 10 am, and has each day mapped out for us to in­clude fresh air and ex­er­cise, both of which I am not greatly en­am­oured with.

If we don’t ad­here to the rules, he moans how we’ve wasted the en­tire day do­ing ab­so­lutely noth­ing. But I like do­ing noth­ing! It’s ac­tu­ally my favourite thing to do!

He rang when we were all ly­ing on the couch watch­ing Strictly. ‘What did you do today?’ he in­quired. ‘Eh… went for a long walk, swept up the leaves in the gar­den and made din­ner,’ I said pray­ing I wouldn’t be struck down.

‘You told us we should never tell lies!’ pipes up The Youngest. Feck! How is it they al­ways re­mem­ber what you tell them when you least want them to? ‘It wasn’t ex­actly a lie,’ I told her after­wards, ‘I did walk the dog around the gar­den, and I kicked a few leaves out of the way. AND I took the take­way out of the car­tons and put it onto the plates,’ I said, jus­ti­fy­ing my­self.

By the time he came home Sun­day night, you could have peeled me off the ceil­ing from all the sugar, the chil­dren were quite happy to have order re­stored and I reckon the dog shed a tear or two of hap­pi­ness.

Every­one needs some­one to keep them in line!

‘MAM, ARE YOU DRUNK?’ ASKED THE 15-YEAR-OLD, AF­TER I’D EATENMY TENTHWHAM BAR AND­WAS LAUGH­ING HYS­TER­I­CALLY AT GOG­GLE­BOX

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