I cleaned the fridge today.
It was a big deal.
I was chuffed when I got to the salad trays because it turned out that was where the slight smell was coming from. It looked as though someone had put a milk bottle on its side on one of the racks without the top on properly and milk had dripped all the way down to the trays and two weeks later started turning cheesie.
I'm bent over the sink scrubbing mouldy dairy, there are kids and a dog under my feet, some of the kids are my own and some of them other people's, and I had one of those moments where you want time to stand still because everything's perfect.
As near perfect as you can hope for.
I worked hard in all sorts of jobs for about twenty years. Had to get up out of bed and go in, no option. Before the world of work I'd had to go to school for about fifteen years. Had to get up out of bed and go in, no option.
Thirty five years of having to get up and go do things I wouldn't have done out of choice.
There was never a day I wanted to get up and go in. Not one day.
It was nice at school to see my friends. It was nice at work to get the pay packet.
But I always dreamed of being free.
So here I am scrubbing mould in the kitchen sink at two in the afternoon while being harassed from every angle by young people wanting to go to the park, go to Tesco's because it's more interesting than Sainsbury's, play football in the garden, play Minecraft with someone in New Zealand, make themselves a bacon sandwich and phone their real mother.
I'm crunching all sorts of ideas about how to entertain everybody. I'm cleaning the fridge, it's a ten minute job, it's my think time.
I start wondering how come I feel so happy cleaning the fridge.
I'm cleaning the fridge because one of our foster children's social workers is visiting today for a catch-up. When you've got a social worker coming you naturally do a quick hoover. Then you notice the downstairs loo is low on paper and while you're about it you check the toilet brush and give the taps a wipe with the towel.
Then you're off, de-toxing the whole house with such a vengeance that you're running down the stairs with a mop when she rings the bell.
It doesn't matter to social workers if the house is sparkling when they drop in; they just need to know it's a good home.
Anyway, here I am at the sink scraping a blueish film of dodgy dairy off fridge compartments and simultaneously trying to conjure up an activity that will appease the whole of a very varied slice of young people.
And it's about as good a moment as I've had anywhere, ever. In my whole life.
In one job I had to get up at 5.30am. I'd cover a tea bag with boiling water, drag a comb through my hair and get riled up for another day of being told I was getting lots of things wrong. I'd sit in a dark kitchen milking the last moment of being in my own life before getting into the car to go off and do nothing of any value. I felt rubbish.
So here I am scrubbing grot and fobbing off requests to go see an 18 rated movie or go buy an Apple Mac, and being roundly cussed for saying no.
And I've never felt better or this fantastic in my life. Fact.
Fostering is hard for sure.
It's also fantastic for sure.