Wednesday 16 September 2009

A Quiet House

The last few days have been consumed with packing and last minute shopping as my mother-in-law and brother-in-law prepared to return to Pakistan in time for Eid. Medicines to pick up, an extra suitcase, guests turning up with gifts for their relatives, and relatives coming to say goodbye and drop off more items for other relatives.

As the kilo’s of luggage added up, the arguments began:

Mother-in-law: Put these shoes in your bag.
Brother-in-law: Who are they for?
Mother-in-law: What does that matter?
Brother-in-law: Do they actually fit anyone?
Mother-in-law: What’s it to you?
Me: I think they’ll fit your sister.
Brother-in-law: What!?! She can hardly walk [she is disabled], why are you giving her heels? Do you want her to break a leg?
Mother-in-law: We’ll cut the heel off!
Brother-in-law: Their perfectly good Clarke’s shoes, why would you cut the heel off?
Mother-in-law: Are you going to put them in your bag or aren’t you?

By this point I was in hysterics. They finally finished packing yesterday and as they would be opening their fast at the airport, we decided to pack them a nice iftar. So hubby and I rustled up kebabs, samosa’s spring rolls, chicken mayo sandwiches, fruit salad and chicken nuggets.

Little Man got more and more upset as they prepared to leave. He is particularly attached to his gran and has been fretting for the last few days. He veered from emotional blackmail (“You’re leaving because you don’t love me”) to anger (“If you go, I won’t let you come back”). I had a very difficult evening trying to soothe him as he burst into loud sobs every little while. By the time she left the mother-in-law was in tears too.

They managed to get their luggage all checked through despite adhering to the good old-fashioned Pakistani tradition of completely disregarding the luggage allowance and then some. They called this morning to report that they have gotten home fine.

In the meantime, the house feels abnormally quiet and empty. I have less cooking to do, feel much more relaxed and have a bit more privacy and a lot more control over the children. On the other hand, it feels like there is something missing from the house and when I go out and leave it completely empty, it feels strange. I also miss having someone to watch the kids while I pop to the shops or to watch the napping baby whilst I get the kids from school. When I go back to work next week, we will really be feeling the difference as we adjust to working around each other to make sure that there is always someone with the children without the luxury of someone watching them with the utmost love and care whilst we go about our business without worry.

The other difference I have felt is how quiet mealtimes are without my youngest brother-in-law making wise-cracks throughout every meal and turning every quiet moment into raucous chaos.

They intend to come back next year as they weather starts getting too hot in Pakistan, so poor Little Man will have to make do with guilt-tripping his gran over the webcam till then.


  1. Really every individual of a family has its own unique importance which can never be fulfilled by some one else.

  2. how true, well said.

  3. Ahhh, lil man sounds adorable!!!