Finding happiness at the traffic lights.

I was on my way home from presenting my radio show this morning feeling a bit harassed and a bit fed up when something happened which changed my outlook on the whole day.

Let me go back in time a bit -insert wavy lines and 70's "going back in time music" here.

My day started with oversleeping, unco-operative children who are already on holiday in their heads even though there is almost a week of school to go, and a lost letter.

Now parents will get this. I know I had three copies of this letter home from school about a teddy bear's picnic. I was required to read it, sign it and return it so my children could go for a walk and a picnic at some point this week. Could I find any of the letters? Of course not! The elf who lives in their school bags had obviously eaten them as always.

Thought I was being clever at the weekend when I asked a friend if she had a copy so I at least knew what was required. Teddy. Well obviously. Water bottle - I'd guessed that as our children now have to carry enough water to sustain them through a Saharan expedition as the old system of getting water from the tap is apparently not working.  A small amount of party treats. What- to share? To eat just before lunch? Assorted or would one small bag of party rings each do?

Whilst fretting about what constituted a small amount of party treats I neglected to fully take note of the date of this event. Grumpy assured me it was Monday. His teacher had said so. I (stupidly) took him at his word which meant even more rushing around this morning assembling party treats and bags to put them in.

Of course it was not today - moral of the story never take the word of a 5-year-old who asks every single day if it's a school day, even after opening Christmas presents.

I was halfway up the school path when we were told the event was the following day so gathering up bags and teddies I sent them up the path while I raced back to the car to save them the embarrassment of having a cr*p mother who doesn't know what day is which and which way is up.

And then my flip flop broke. Not any old flip-flop. My very favourite blue Havianas which are as comfortable as slippers. I actually wanted to stand there and howl like a two year old.

Luckily my friend lives right next to the school so I hammered on her door and begged for some shoes. She's a couple of sizes bigger than me shoe-wise so I then slopped my way back to school to say goodbye to the children. Only to be greeted by a sobbing child asking me why I had taken his water bottle away.

ARGH! It was in one of the flipping teddy bear picnic bags. Ready now to throw myself on the floor and kick my arms and legs I smiled a bit too brightly and  shuffle-ran back to the car in my friends too-big shoes to collect the bottle.

Red-faced and totally exhausted by now I banged on my child's locked classroom door until the TA took pity and relieved me of the water bottle.  Raced over to another classroom to inform another teacher about my daughter's sprained ankle and raced back home starving and thirsty to change into shoes which were neither too big or broken in time to hurtle over to the studio for my radio show.
madmumof7 on air at radio dacorum

I felt totally flustered and the show didn't feel like it flowed - although DH says he thought it was a great show -and when I left at lunchtime I was ready for a lie down in a dark room. Instead I was facing an afternoon hosting my monthly Christian house group which I love but always seems to take me by surprise.  I drove home wondering if assorted cake would cover up the fact that I had done no preparation even though I am meant to lead it!

And then I stopped at the traffic lights. The lights at this particular junction take ages to change so I knew I had time to retract the roof on my beloved cabriolet. As I did so a car pulled up alongside me in and the driver shouted across:"Fancy swapping cars?"

I laughed and informed him that although it is a cabriolet it is ancient and dented and even the CD player doesn't work and he would probably be better holding on to his much newer car. We sat for a while chatting and joking before the lights eventually changed and his final words were to me :" Ready, Steady GO!" and as we zoomed up the hill I felt my mood lift.

blogger in cabriolet

And the house group was great - Christmas goodies from brands who have been showing me their Festival ranges over the past few weeks went down very well with my craft and chat people. Turns out Stollen is lovely in July, probably even nicer than in December when you are frankly fed up of stodgy rich calorie-laden treats.

And so where am I going with this? Well I don't really know apart from there's probably some deep and meaningful message about never giving up on a day, and looking for joy in unusual places. Certainly I did not expect to rediscover happiness at traffic lights in Hemel Hempstead!

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