All By Myself
Uncle had the audacity to go to Ibiza for a whole week to celebrate turning the big 3-0 with his friends. Leaving me, aunt, flying solo for the first time since we became special guardians. I am well aware that many people look after children independently every day. Our niece and nephew’s mummy was one of those people. But for me, this was the first time that I was solely responsible for their little lives for longer than 24 hours.
A few of you negative Nancys out there may be thinking “how could you let him go away for a week? I’d never let my partner do that!” Firstly, I didn’t let him. Secondly, he deserves a holiday more than anyone I know. Thirdly, it means that I have the green light to go on a week long girls holiday in the future!
In case this wasn’t clear previously; our niece and nephew’s mummy is uncle’s sister. Therefore our niece and nephew obviously have a closer bond with him. So my first worry was: how would they cope without him? In the five years that uncle and I have been together, I have built a great relationship with the kids and that has grown more and more over the past two years in particular. But I must admit that I was worried about how they would respond to a week with only me.
My second concern was the mornings. Uncle and I have a good little tag team set up where he gives the kids breakfast whist I get ready, then I supervise whilst they brush their teeth and get dressed whilst he gets ready. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. My bed is my sanctuary. So I was dreading the alarm going off and having to get the kids ready for school whilst trying to make myself look half presentable for work. But, much to my surprise, they were up every morning ahead of me and went downstairs to watch Netflix before I rose from my slumber. Then preceded the regimented routine of breakfast, teeth brush, get dressed, find school belongings and somehow manage to get out of the door by 8:30am. Nevertheless, we were out on time every single day without any major dramas.
I work full time, as does uncle, and we are so lucky to have the support of both of our families, meaning that after school was already sorted everyday. I would normally pick them up by around 5.30pm, head home and then start the second military operation of the day: the evening routine. This included dinner, homework (why do year 3’s get so much homework?!), bath, iPad, snack, teeth brush, cuddles and bed. Once we had completed all assigned tasks by 8pm, it was me time. It turns out, me time is pretty lonely when you’re used to a busy household. So, obviously, I filled my evenings with Netflix, cleaning and wine. Lots of wine. I’d have to say the worst thing of all was not being able to pop to the shop in the evenings for snacks. There’s definitely a gap in the market for a snack delivery service.
As always, these kids never fail to amaze me. They have been absolutely amazing throughout the week and so well behaved. The only time I’ve had to tell them off was on Friday night… because they were arguing over who would clean the sink. I blame Mrs Hinch for that one. Whilst uncle has been away I’ve become addicted to her cleaning rituals and they have kept me busy during the evenings. I’ve become slightly obsessed with buying her recommended cleaning products. Let’s just hope that uncle doesn’t come home and make everything a mess again.
It is true what they say: absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Understandably, our relationship has taken a few knocks over the past two years. And, at times, we definitely take each other for granted. But this week apart has, for me at least, made me appreciate how amazing uncle is. And because of that, he is never allowed to leave my side again!