Just lately I've been feeling a tad glum when I pick LittleBear up from school. All the other parents seem to be pairing up and leaving the playground together, heads tipped towards one another, engrossed in their own conversations. No, not that kind of pairing up, they've simply been organised and competent and arranged play dates for their children. And I've been gazing wistfully at all these other people and wondering why we're never involved in play dates. And then I remember that I never organise any. So I've been trying to make more of an effort, and today I decided to simply seize a moment.
We were walking back to our car, and passed SmallFriend and MummyFriend getting into their car.
"Are you busy?" I enquired.
"Yes, now. I was wondering if you wanted to come round and play?"
Since SmallFriend was in the process of sulking because he didn't have anyone to play with, this was a fortuitous moment to ask.
It was only as I drove home that I remembered the state of the house. And given it's only a mile from school to home, I wasn't going to gain a time advantage by putting the pedal to the metal. I was just going to have to brazen it out.
I wasn't quite prepared for the cat sick on the carpet.
And I'd forgotten the (clean) laundry heaped up in the play room.
And the kitchen was rather less clean that it had seemed when I sprinted out of the door fifteen minutes late this morning.
Fortunately baby-wipes are basically a gift from angels, able to remove cat sick with remarkable speed, and a quick wipe of a hot, soapy cloth around the kitchen made it at least hygienic, if not tidy. And my friend very kindly either didn't notice, or didn't comment upon the lace knickers draped across the vintage Atari ST in the play room. They were clean. Honest. And everyone ends up with piles of clean laundry around the house don't they? Come on guys, work with me here. Knickers on vintage computers is not weird. It's just laundry. And vintage computers. You know what? I'm definitely hoping friend didn't notice, rather than politely avoided commenting...
Anyway, this is me being positive, and not publicly shaming my own, frankly sub-standard, housekeeping habits. And I'm not focussing on MummyFriend commenting on how good it was that I felt able to invite people round when my house was a mess rather than being retentive like she is*.
There's no point feeling left out when all it takes is a moment to reach out. Everyone wants a friend. We had a lovely afternoon.
* In all fairness, she was genuinely rueing the fact that she doesn't spontaneously invite people round, and wishes she did so. When written down it sounds much more critical than it did at the time!