I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Which in itself can drive me mad, because I'm not selective in my desire to be perfect - I want everything to be perfect. Basically, I want the impossible.
The perfect body, perfect skin, a healthy bank balance, success, good cook, good mum, good friend, better at piano, better at cello, perfectly clean and tidy house. I feel sometimes as if I'm always waiting, waiting for that one day when the kids have a whale of a time, I feel and look great, and our bank account is bulging, when my book is published, when I've finally decided to apply cream to my psoriasis and get rid of it (I don't care enough to bother by the evening - too tired) - waiting instead of living.
If there's one thing that I envy in children it's that they are always "in the moment." They ride on a rollercoaster of their emotions, they can sometimes be miserable. But it's also possible for them to achieve complete happy oblivion at the slightest thing.
Take today for example, I went to the supermarket for a last-minute oh-my-god-we've-lost-all-the-dummies dash, and a pop up 'Cars' tent caught my eye. Reduced to 7Euros. So of course, I had to buy it - if only to prove that just occasionally things can be cheap in France.
And the children had a complete ball with this flimsy little tent, pushing it around, peeking out of the windows, leaping in the door at each other. Lily was sick this morning, Joe has dodgy nappies and Timmy is always on the verge of a tantrum, but pop a little seven euro tent in the playroom and it's absolute heaven - problems forgotten, caught up in joy.
Sometimes I think I'd love to swap with one of the children for the day: they don't know about death, debt, or disease, depression, dieting or home décor. And they neither know or give a damn how they look from moment to moment.
We spend our entire lives trying to achieve something we're born with (joy, I mean, not perfect skin) - so maybe instead of trying to teach our children, perhaps we should start learning from them.
Now, where did I put that tent...?