Sometimes I wonder how I ended up where I am; working alone at home in a teeny semi-detached house in the suburbs when really I'd have been better off living in a commune.
I'm at my happiest when I'm surrounded by people. My dreams often feature me living in a large house which I share with lots of friends; the door is always open for visitors to drop by and there are usually an assortment of children randomly running in and out at will. Just once, when I lived on a compound in the Middle East, I almost achieved this ideal, but like all dreams, it was not to last.
The reality of my daily life now is so very different. Our house is on a main road and there are no friends nearby. My children are quite happy to lounge around at home and my husband works so late that we rarely meet up with friends except on the odd weekend (which usually takes ages to organise). I try to make up for the potential lack of social contact that my current lifestyle promotes, by getting out of the house at least once a day and meeting up with friends as frequently as possible. The contact, the exchange of ideas, the companionship, boosts me up and keeps me going during the times of social scarcity.
Most of the time, I can just about handle things as they are, but the past week I've been driven almost spare. It's the school holidays and my husband was off work last week. THREE days were spent just kicking around at home. The children were quite happy and showed little desire to see anyone, my husband being less keenly social than I, was also happy pottering and doing very necessary DIY. Meanwhile I champed at the bit. Why didn't they want to go out? DO something fun? Go swimming..ANYTHING. I thought of previous trips we'd had, camping in the desert in huge groups and mourned the loss of those days. What kind of 'sad' family were we, I thought, with nothing better to do than DIY and housework?
But then I thought, what kind of 'sad' person am I who is not simply content to be with her family? I shouldn't need to be busy 'doing things', schmoozing and socialising to feel good about myself; I should be simply enjoying my children's company, while they still want to be in mine.