(Fake) parenting is hard
OPINION: If you, as a person without children, have ever taken offence to a random stranger's child and their behaviour and been a bit judgy about their parenting skills, let me just take a moment here.
A moment to mentally beat that thought out of you, and tell you to check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Parenting is hard. And I don't even have kids.
A couple of weeks ago, I headed up north to look after my two young brothers, Mr 6 and Mr 11, for a week.
Guys, seriously. It's hard. Like, really hard – and I was only fake parenting for seven days.
School runs, sport practices, making school lunches that aren't going to result in a snarky note coming home in the lunchbox about how your child had a "sometimes" food in their lunch today – there's a lot to consider.
By the second day I was ready to sleep for a week.
Life throws all sorts of curveballs at you sometimes, and this trip wasn't without those. The first in this saga was actually trying to leave Invercargill.
My early Saturday morning flight coincided with some rather adverse weather, which effectively rendered the whole of the South Island closed for two days.
Upon the cancellation of my flight, I arrived up north a day and a half late.
Other times, it's when my uncle nearly brought the wrong child home from rugby practice.
Here's some vital context for this mishap: there have been several reports of dodgy behaviour from someone in silver car in the town where my brothers live, where children have been targeted – including one where a pupil was chased through some thick fog one morning.
Thursday evening is rugby night. We had family visiting at this point and I was a bit caught up preparing dinner for us all, so sent my uncle off to pick up Mr 11 from rugby.
Given that the pitch is only three minutes down the road, he took a remarkably long time to come back.
After about 15 minutes he turns up, and asks us: "do you know someone called Campbell who looks a bit like Mr 11?"
As it was raining pretty hard that night, when my uncle saw Mr 11 in the carpark, he ushered him over to the car, telling him to hurry up because dinner was ready and it was raining.
Mr 11 looked at him a bit funny, but my uncle figured this was because he didn't have his glasses on and couldn't see very well.
Somewhat reluctantly, he ambled over to the car.
As Mr 11 is sitting on the edge of the car seat, my uncle noticed his hair was a bit different - as in a completely different colour - and said to him, "hey buddy, what's your name? Are you [Mr 11]?"
"Oh nah, my name's Campbell," not-Mr 11 said.
"Ok buddy, hop out – I'm looking for someone else."
The actual My 11 was eventually located, but given the recent happenings in the town, a call was made later that night to the rugby co-ordinator, just to let her know that my uncle, who unfortunately drives a silver vehicle, was not trying to steal children he didn't know.
None of us still have any idea who Campbell is.
To be fair, that was probably the only major mishap during the week, which is a considerable improvement on the last time I was up there and forgot to feed lunch to Mr 11, who was Mr 9 at the time.
So hats off to all the parents out there who raise their children and function like normal members of society at the same time.
I don't know how you all do it, but you're all superheroes in my books.
Also, apologies to Campbell and his parents. I promise we weren't trying to steal him.