It was a big day for us yesterday. It was part one of the house move for son number two, the last of our offspring to head off to university. He is going to Brighton to study strange looking people who wear too many patterned clothes at once, along with some tree huggers and lefty liberals if the locals are anything to go by.
He had pre-warned the husband and me about the state of his new home. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised. The house has six bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen...so far so good. However, the floor planning came to a grinding halt when it came to the lounge. The three seated sofa (I would imagine a seating rota will be introduced for the six of them) simply sits in a larger than usual passage, sharing the floor with a rather dilapidated Henry Hoover. I would imagine that Henry has been living in the house for many years, and could tell tales of unspeakable things he has seen.
So the reason the husband and I had gone down, was to put together various pieces of furniture. A double bed (son number two is freakishly tall, and will sleep diagonally on the small double which just about fit in the room), a table and a desk.
The husband, suitably tooled up, started on the bed. I just happened to enquire as to why the middle legs didn't reach the floor. The look I got from the husband implied that if I wanted the bed to be finished, I should keep my trap shut. According to son number two, the husband employed a clever adjustment with some wood to ensure that all six feet now reached the floor. He also told me quietly that there would be no jumping on the bed as it probably wouldn't stand any rough handling.
But it was the desk which proved the husband's undoing. Halfway through screwing drawer runners on, he asked me why on earth I hadn't bought ready assembled stuff. Funnily, I thought he was enjoying the challenge, but apparently not. Now the husband, like most men, doesn't need the instructions when building a piece of flat pack furniture, but when he was doing the desk he had the booklet open, but was flicking from page to page, looking mildly bewildered. And why was this? Well, it was because he was looking at the instructions for the bed, which was already finished (to some degree). I helpfully pointed this out, and he wasn't half as grateful as I thought he would be. It was at this point that I headed off to find a sandwich shop.
So six hours after getting there, the husband had finished putting three pieces of furniture together, and we were on our way home. Waiting back at the house were daughter number one, daughter number two and the LSB, son number two, and the newly re-christened ELL. We very thoughtfully brought home pizzas, which took so long to make that I had time to knock back two rather large glasses of red wine. This was not a wise move - when the waitress brought the many boxes over, I muttered something to her about never having four children. She looked slightly nervous, and said that she only had one child. Excelling myself in my Malbec befuddled brain, I said to her, rather too loudly, 'Stop at one and quit while you're still ahead'. The husband manhandled me out of the restaurant, which wasn't easy carrying twelve boxes of pizza, dough balls, salad and garlic bread.
But eating around the table with them all, I realised that having four children is bloody marvellous, and the partners they bring into our crazy family just add a little sensible balance....mind you having heard some of their tales last night, it appears that they may not be as sensible as one thought.
And now they are all going.
I will miss their hugs, their laughter and just the loud 'being' of them all.
Even the ones which aren't strictly mine...