This week I had agreed to meet some very dear friends from university for dessert. We usually meet for a meal, but I thought this idea was good because it would give me time to get the kids fed and all of my chores done.
What actually happened was that I left work early, sneaked in some Eid shopping and got late. I got home to pray, rushed to pick up the kids, got to listen to some more complaints about Gorgeous from his teacher. Then I grabbed some groceries and spent the next two hours going full speed in the kitchen. Hubby is away this weekend, so I had to cook enough for him to take the next weekend and for us to eat for that night and the next day. I ended up making my favourite chicken curry and pilau rice with a big colourful salad.
I barely had the food made and served by the time my friend came to pick me up, so I left without eating. Which was probably just as well, as I felt better about having dessert and a creamy latte.
I ended up having crepes with chocolate syrup and strawberries with ice-cream on the side - it tasted like the soft stuff you get from the ice-cream van.
We must have talked for just over two hours, about life, work, children, marriage, not being married. So many memories for the three of us to share, so many stories, we laughed so much. We live close together, but sometimes a year or more will pass before we get to see each other. The wonderful thing is that after we catch up, chat and laugh, we move with ease to the deeper things: anxieties, worries, disappointments.
I kept coming back to the thought that it was hard to believe it had been 15 years since we graduated, the little siblings and cousins we used to talk about then were adults and going through the rites of marriage, work and children themselves. None of us looked or felt our age and it didn't seem so long.
I left my friends feeling inspired, light and cheerful.
I got home and felt a bit like a teenager sneaking in. It's funny how you meet rarely, do everything to minimise the impact on others before you go, and guilt still tries to slither its way into your mind. The funny thing was if I was a teenager sneaking in, I would have thrown my shoes off and flopped into bed. But I am not. So I washed the dishes in the kitchen, put the food into the fridge, prayed, shut the house down and then got ready for bed. Even a night out for a mum can be an operation in itself.