Saturday, 20 April 2013

"That" Person

Despite my best efforts, I have become "that" person.

1.The person who is always late - despite high levels of family organisation somehow life seems to conspires against me, and I increasingly frequently end up being late.  Either someone needs an extended toilet trip, someone else has lost something, remembered something, the phone rings as we are leaving... the list is endless. I really value good timekeeping and punctuality in others and I used to pride myself on always being on time, usually early - but that was with the smug certainty of having only one person to get out of the door. Myself.

Persuading and organising four children is at the best of times akin to herding cats. (I have three of those too and they frequently present a significant challenge not dissimilar to the children.) I am pretty convinced there is an ongoing conspiracy between children and animals in this house and they collectively share the responsibility of vomiting on the floor, needing the toilet, requiring food or precipitating some other emergency which makes me late. Again. I suspect mother now automatically adds an extra half an hour to any estimated time of arrival I give her these days but is too nice to tell me!

2.The person apologising for missing that all-important school letter, the reply slip for which was supposed to be in last week. Or better still, you DID send the slip in... but completely forgot to enter the relevant details on the calendar. We've had some close shaves lately, when I have bluffed my way through a conversation with one or other school, frantically rummaging through my brain for the missing information which should have been to hand. Gone are the days of the feeling of satisfaction when your diary includes everything the children are doing with annotated notes on the day's requirements beside each event.

3.The person who backs out at the last minute - this is one I find really painful to admit. Like punctuality, reliability has a phenomenal level of value to me. Yet here I am, doing exactly what I dislike having done to me. Letting people down at the last minute.

Of course there is always a good reason, and I am certain the same is true for everyone else. And having four children with quite a flabbergasting number of hospital appointments has quite an impact on the odds of me meeting my commitments even when life is on an even keel. But throw the proverbial spanner in the works - a child in hospital, off school or a string of emergency meetings and any chance of normality flies out of the window, a State of Emergency is declared and anything beyond school and meals has but a slim chance of occurring. Which brings me on to the next person:-

4.The person who operates on a crisis management basis, reactive rather than proactive. You know, the person who dashes in last minute, (late, see 1.) having forgotten something vital (see 2.) looking flustered and panicky. That's often me - and yet it isn't. I am a control freak. I admit it. But battling the chaos of reality in a war I cannot win is something I struggle to come to terms with. You cannot function at your best in reactionary mode, at least not if your forte is ├╝ber levels of organisation with the task nailed before you leave home.

But maybe I'm missing something? Because actually, whilst on one level I deplore lateness, being let down, disorganisation and crisis management, there is no escaping the chaos which infects the lives of big families with or without the addition of considerable health needs. There is definitely a level of satisfaction and even exhilaration from "winging it" and getting by. Just. It wouldn't be my choice of modus operandi but I don't have that choice. So for now I will embrace my inner "person" and continue to fly by the seat of my pants... ensuring the fridge has a bottle of Pinot Grigio chilling come Friday evening!

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