Life’s a juggle

Hospital appointment has finally come through the post. I’ve been waiting for it so am relieved to see the letter.

Relief lasts ten seconds while I open the envelope. Appointment is at a different hospital than usual. On a weekday afternoon. At 5.15pm.

And it’s in a week that I know my husband is away with work and my parents are on holiday.

Don’t dare change the appointment. But who’s going to look after the children? Juggling begins.

Not worried about teenager. He can come home on the bus and have cereal for tea. In an ideal world he’ll sit quietly and do his homework – realistically he’ll probably play computer games. But he’ll be fine home alone.

Next, younger daughter and son. They can go to after school club, but that shuts around 5.30pm. With a wait at the hospital inevitable, and then the rush hour traffic, I definitely won’t be back by then, so I need someone to pick them up and feed them.

Send a begging text out to a few good friends. One has swopped work days that week so she’s not around. Another has to take her own children to the dentist after school on that day.

More luck with the third. She’s happy to pick them up straight from school so they don’t even have to go to after school club. It’ll be more like a play date. Phew. Must remember I owe her big time.

Next, toddler. The real problem. Babysitter is happy to have him until 5.45pm and give him his tea, but then she has to rush off to a parents’ evening.

Go and talk to a neighbour but her children are at swimming that night. Text another who I know is usually home at at 5.30pm. Yes, she can have him if babysitter can drop him off. But she’s got to take her son to football training at 6.30pm so I need to make sure I’m back from the appointment by then. Fingers crossed the wait isn’t too long.

Job done. It’s taken me several days to sort everything out and I feel exhausted.

Appointment day. Text friend, babysitter and neighbour to double check they are still OK with arrangements. Drill into each child what they are doing after school. Toddler starts screaming that he wants to go to the babysitter NOW. Teenager nearly misses the bus as he can’t find his house key which he needs to let himself in after school.

Phone rings. A far too cheery voice on the other end of the line.

“Hello, is that Mrs Newman-Sanders? I’m sorry about the short notice but we’ve had to cancel your appointment. I’ll pop a new one in the post if that’s OK with you…”

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