We had dinner with my cousin and her family recently. Lovely family. Unassumingly posh only because they have no idea, as is often the case. They are picture perfect in the most traditional of ways – the eldest is a son, who is polite, quiet, and unopinionated, a daughter who is also polite, quiet, and unopinionated, and then a second daughter who is just quiet. They’ve also got a nice four-bedroom flat on Gloucester Road just a five-minute walk from Hyde Park, and enough blooming orchids in the flat to open a florist shop. About the only thing missing was a dog, which we supplied that night.
My cousin and her family have been in London for the past twelve years meaning they have been around the entire time your mother and I have been here. We have seen each other three times in the past two years. That is generally what happens when people have kids – they disappear. It’s the equivalent of a man-made Bermuda Triangle.
Should we try for dinner next month?
Sorry, kids are such a handful to leave the house with.
We can come to yours if that’s easier?
Sorry, but it’s just a mess here and the kids have all these lessons around the clock.
Okay, maybe we will see you all another time soon.
Yes, let’s definitely get together soon – the kids really would love to see you.
And when we do get together, it’s really just about the kids, kids, kids. I know the feeling – it’s fun to share the cute things they do. We have a puppy now, and I share pictures of videos of her all the time. But our attempts at joining in on the conversation is still limited. “Our puppy can sit” doesn’t quite compare to “Clare came twelfth in the country for the butterfly stroke,” and our version of “Jasmine can recite the alphabet” is “Kili barks when you dangle a toy too high for her.” Not that either are impressive, but you get the point.
But you know what? Although we can’t talk about her in the same way, the kids and puppy were all doing the same thing that night. Kili was babysitting them as much as they were babysitting Kili. They were all confined to the kitchen. And they were all drinking bottled water (I told you they were posh).