I spend Monday combing, combing, combing. My daughter and I have a rampant case of head lice. I’ve never had them before, and find the tiny crawling bugs to be just about the ickiest thing I’ve ever encountered. The Bump is grimly fascinated with the concept of having eggs in her hair.
I spend Tuesday night in the dodgiest hotel on earth.
That might be a slight exaggeration. but only by a little bit. Albury is not known for its glamour.
The kidlets and I are driving to Sydney, for my brother’s engagement party. It’s a long haul– eight hours. But cheaper, marginally, to drive rather than fly, even with two night’s accommodation tacked on top of petrol costs. So that is what we do.
The reception office at this hotel is locked. Checking in requires walking the kidlets through a grotty, dingy pub, and presenting ourselves at the bar. It smells like cigarette smoke and footy. It’s an old scent, ground into the grungy carpet. It’s as old as the barflys themselves.
I take my kids out to eat Maccas for dinner and burn off some of that accumulated energy from sitting in the car for hours. They are good travellers, both of them. It’s one of those parenting oxymorons– three hours in the car leaves me exhausted, but them wired.
Our hotel room is tiny, three beds crammed into one room. A bar fridge and kettle hidden in a cupboard. A bathroom with the very basics. A letter from the local police constable, reminding us to lock up our car and hotel room and keep the blinds drawn, is tucked into the hotel service book. The Foxtel channels don’t work, nor does the wifi. The three of us curl into the double bed and watch movies on my iPad.
I’m tired, so so tired. I have pimples on my face, my hair needs a good dye job. I’d underestimated how easy I had it, in TinyTrainTown. This full time parenting gig is hard slog.
But I’m loving my kids so hard right now. They are such a comfort, a balm to anxiety and adult fears. Right here, between them, their sleepy blonde heads on my lap… this is where I’m supposed to be.