I did something yesterday, in the daytime, I haven't done for years. Not since I started fostering.
I felt guilty at first, then felt a real buzz.
I recommend it, if you can wangle the chance.
What was it?
Not a thing. I did not do a thing, between the morning school run and the afternoon school run.
The Friday started normally enough; the breakfast routine, the getting out of the house on time routine, the general dragging of reluctant young feet routine, the chirpiness of the partner looking forward to a weekend, the quiet resolve of the foster carer, for whom the weekend is no picnic, actually.
I'd cleared the sink and put away before leaving, hate coming home to a grotty kitchen. I dropped everyone off, and nipped to the supermarket to top up.
Then what happened was this: I was passing the magazine shelves, and saw a copy of a magazine I used to love back when I had time to read magazines. So I put it in the basket. Then I saw a second magazine I liked, and that went into the basket too.
Now I'm off and running. Instead of buying the usual staples; sliced white bread, milk and Chicken McNuggets, I bought some goats cheese. Enough for one. A ready-to-eat avocado, two crusty white rolls, and a carton of pineapple juice.
Driving home I felt quite floaty. I had that mixture of guilt and excitement I imagine people feel when they embark on a fling.
When I got home I fired up the laptop, luckily no emails in the Inbox. Googled Amazon and started window shopping, cup of coffee at the elbow. About eleven I remembered the magazines. Creamed the avocado into a roll, glass of juice, and retreated onto the living room sofa. Took total control of the TV remote, and started on the letters page.
Resisted temptation to pick up some bits of something or other on the living room carpet, and told my eyes not to keep noticing them.
Kept the second magazine back for... a daytime, uninterruptable bath. Except I'd just settled in the really hot water when the landline phone rang, an energy recycling company, who got slightly short shrift from a dripping wet foster carer who was determined that the carer was going to enjoy a day of being cared for. Being free from jobs.
From half past nine to 2.43pm I did nothing at all, except wash up my avocado plate.
Whilst soaking and reading, I remembered why the magazine burned into my mind as I scuttled past the shelves. On Monday I'd had to wait for an hour outside the treatment room while a looked-after child had therapy. They had a collection of magazines to help pass the time, and I found myself losing myself in the fictional world of shiny people and their triumphant make-overs.
Then at 2.43pm I had a missed call on the mobile. It was the school saying I was not to worry but they thought I ought to know something that happened today.
Turned out I did ought to, and what with a tricky contact on Saturday, we were heading for a lively weekend.
Partner went to the fridge in the evening and said "What this goats cheese doing?"
Oh, and in case you were a bit worried about someone who drinks pineapple juice, it goes back to childhood and tinned pineapple chunks, and me being allowed to take the tin and drink the syrup. A guilty pleasure.
I hope you have a few guilty pleasures, and, especially if you're a foster carer, you indulge.
The Secret Foster Carer