On Friday evening, I was surprised by a visit from my oldest friend and her boyfriend. I was excited.
My husband had secretly flown them over from England using our air miles. I was, of course, delighted to see them.
Spectrummy Daddy had sent photos of them to Pudding’s teacher to prepare her for the visit. She didn’t handle their arrival too well, but she calmed down after a day or so. Cubby enjoyed having the extra attention. Another friend agreed to babysit on Saturday night, so we actually got to go out. I was happy.
My house was in relative order, for my house, or so I thought until my friend walked in. Only then did I see it through her eyes. The juice-stained carpet, the crayon marks on the walls, the broken furniture, the child locks even on high cupboards, the safety gates, the door locks, the social stories, the therapy equipment everywhere. They don’t have children, so the chaos of our home is the opposite of how they live. I was embarrassed.
Even when I did find a minute to clean, it was futile. Cubby was hell-bent on drawing on the walls, though I swore I’d removed every single crayon from his reach. I was angry.
In contrast, Pudding retreated into herself even more than usual. I was worried.
I stayed up as late as I could every night to chat and catch up with my friends. I was tired.
I still had therapies to drive to, allergy-safe food to cook, and Pudding and Cubby to take care of. I was exhausted.
I was completely unable to act like a hostess in the way I’d have liked to. I’m doing nothing as well as I’d like to right now. I was frustrated.
I wished for things to be different. I felt guilty.
At many points over the course of the long weekend, I thought about how I couldn’t just have a weekend to enjoy the company of friends because of everything else. I wondered why I couldn’t just be happy, just for a weekend. Will a visit from friends always be this hard? I was sad.
I was able to talk to my friend, and tell her in person how I was feeling. I have a friendship of over three decades of being accepted and loved for myself, even if I’m not able to present my best self all the time. I was content.
I dropped them at the airport this afternoon. By tomorrow we’ll be back on our routine, like the visit never happened. Back to our normal.
I wonder how long I’ll be playing hostess to every feeling that has risen to the surface.