Drive. I've given this word much thought over this weekend. Drive. Tossed it around in my head, it echoed a little and then it plummeted down to where I played with it for a while. I kept going back to it.
You see, this weekend was the weekend when we were celebrating the Doctor's 6th birthday with a little party with some of his new Kindy pals.
He wanted a birthday party. I wanted to give him a party. I love the idea of 'making memories', and this weekend, I've made memories. In my freaking muscles from standing up for 12 hours straight baking. I love baking. But not for 12 hours. By myself. While looking after two smalls.
The tension crept up ever so slowly. I started the morning pretty pleased with myself. I made cookie dough. Wrapped it. Refrigerated it. Moved on to the next gig. Cupcakes. Made them. Baked them. Moved on. Birthday cake. Made the first of three. And on it goes. We rushed out to the shops to grab some bits and pieces, came back, and the tension had crept up a little higher, until it finally rested in my shoulders. Aching.
I took stock of myself on more than one occasion. What was driving me to be so batty about this birthday party? Millions of women have successfully held birthday parties. And then it hit me. It hit me just like the sifter did this morning, as it fell out of the pantry. Straight in the back of my head as I was bending down to pick something up. BOOM!
I was worried about what the other mums would think of me. The driving force behind me being more Nigella, was what would the other mums think when they drop their wee darlings off, and I feed them with all manner of sugary goodness.
The telltale sign was the guilt of the packet cake mix. I for one hate packet mixes. But the Women's Weekly told me it was 3 x Buttercake packet mixes, and this time, I was loathe to stuff up my son's birthday cake (unlike his first birthday cake - but that's another story). I dutifully baked the packet mixes. In the back of my head - besides the egg where the sifter whacked me - is someone going to eat this cake and think - my goodness, THIS WOMAN USED PACKET MIX? Outrageous.
And then it got me to thinking about these cakes. These birthday cakes that are like show dogs. Look what my mama made for me! But then again, I remember the cakes that were made lovingly for me, they act as landmarks in my life - and I like to look back and remember those heady days.
The Doctor weighed in on my prowess early in the day with: "Your leaves look good Mum, but not as good as the ones in the book." Yowsers.
I had to slap myself out of it. No one else was around to do it (although I'm sure Tiny would jump at the chance to slap me). I kept thinking of the Doctor instead of the mums. I kept trying to think of 12 eager little children, and how excited they would be! That their drive is completely different to ours. How that innocence is so pure, and trusting, and proud as punch.
Maybe you'd say I reversed out of competing in the Mummy Olympics, and accelerated into trying to create some magical memories. Driven into the happiness, the chaos, the angst, the excitement of parenting. That's what drive is. I have the drive to make memories for my small fry, but sometimes I feel like I don't have enough petrol in the tank.
I can't even remember what I ate at birthday parties when I was small. It was all about that giddy excitement. Seeing your friends, playing games, balloons, and being picked up too early (it's always too early to leave a good party), and driving home with butterflies in your tummy, replaying all the action.