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Sobbing in the shower

Guest Blog by Joe Bloggs

I had a moment this morning. Well if I am being completely honest, and is there really a better place to do so than anonymously on the internet (unless you count Confession and that only applies if you are of that religious persuasion and feel the need to save your soul)…I had more than a moment. I had a full-blown Good Cry. That term, I feel, should be trademarked if it hasn’t been already (and if it isn’t, and someone does, and makes a lot of money, I call dibs on commission for the idea), as there are few other terms that instantly bring to mind the precise scenario you try to define.

Don’t say you’ve never been there: lip quivering, nose tingling, eyes brimming, with the bonus chest and stomach pain reserved for those really special occasions. Whether you’ve been holding it in for a while, or it’s brought on by a sucker-punch of a situation, there is nothing so overwhelming yet cathartic at the same time. A Good Cry is best kept until you’ve reached the privacy of your car, your bedroom, or in my case the bathroom.

Coincidentally (or not, perhaps) it was while I was standing under the shower, spraying cleanser onto the screen, that I felt the urge to weep. Faced with the task of scrubbing soap scum that no one else in my family seems to see, I felt a somewhat inexplicable and unfamiliar tremble in my lower lip, burning in my eyes, and off I went. (On the upside, it’s a great place to let the tears flow, along with the runny nose that always seems to accompany A Good Cry, and while it’s not a great look at the best of times, at least there’s no one there to witness it, unless you’ve invited others to your Pity Party. I mean, with the mirror fogged, even you can’t see how bad you look…)

Anyway, as I attacked the scaly screen I started thinking about all the other household jobs awaiting my attention, started plotting the best order to do them in, dreading the energy expenditure required, and being overcome with an enormous sense of failure on multiple levels.

Long story short, yet relevant to this tale: a Special Needs son (another term that sums it up but one that I’m not so fond of), an unexpected permanent disability of my own, a husband who works split-shifts/dog-watch/14-if-not-24/7 with no massive financial return to show for it, a young daughter who I desperately try to not get lost in all of the above- means our home is not a castle by any stretch of the imagination. Not a Hoarders’ Hovel either, but gives a good impression of one at times- I simply cannot keep up with the housework. Which means that I actually actively discourage visitors, and sleepovers are out of the question altogether. There lies the rub.

Kids are supposed to hang out, have playdates, and stay up all night after too much junk food and rubbish TV. Heck, I did all that and then some when I was young. Not my kids. Our 3 bedroom house does not lend itself to extra bodies, not when in the wisdom of the architect the bedrooms barely hold a bed, let alone extra bedding. With the aforementioned revolting shifts, my Beloved comes and goes, and makes coffee, at all hours of the night, so a kids’ camp in the living room is not doable either (allowing that they will eventually drop off to sleep at some stage).

Add to that my screaming lack of pride in our place, and the never ending load of laundry looking at me on the lounge, and I don’t feel able to offer invitations to other people, or their children.

Why precisely this all caved in on me in the shower this morning, I’m not sure. But the trigger was a photo of 7 smiling faces on facebook- showing all the other girls in my daughter’s class at a birthday party this weekend. Every other female except mine. I know they all play sport together, do various other events, and “face time” for hours on end. They are a nice group of girls really, they all seem to get along in class, all happily accept the annual invitation to our Halloween Party, and begged my child to get some sort of ‘iProduct ‘ so they could include her (which she did, which they haven’t); and yet the photos keep coming of the rest of the class (of the female variety anyway) hanging out, without my girl.

And I know it’s because our lifestyle- or rather the circumstances of our life- means she cannot join the sporting teams, go on shopping trips, or concerts, or just hang out. There’s always another appointment to attend, or not enough time, energy, or money at the end of the day.

So while I have to trust that we are doing the best we can raising our children to hopefully head into adulthood as community-minded, well-educated, decent mannered and socially aware human beings, it’s this in-between period that’s stressing me out. If they are missing out.

Which brings me back to my scrubbing and sobbing simultaneously in the shower.

And now sees me sitting here scribbling with a sick feeling in my stomach, knowing I’m going to have to come up with some sort of explanation, or a big box of tissues, when my little girl comes home from school tomorrow knowing she was excluded again, and quite possibly needing A Good Cry of her own.

At least the shower’s clean should she need it.