1984, 9am: ‘All aboard the Mitsubishi Express!’ my Dad would call, which meant we had exactly 20 seconds to be in the car and have our seatbelts on. This did not bode well for a kid living in the fantasy land of Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl or Judy Blume.
‘But Dad! Mum’s given me one pig-tail and one plait!’
‘Well your teacher can fix it for you,’ he’d say, sliding the car door shut.
My Dad loved that car. All I remember is the sound of that sliding door roaring across its rails to an almighty slam.
We were the family who rushed. I thought it was normal to always run on such adrenaline.
1988: I got a Sony Walkman for my birthday and Bobby McFerrin released that catchy tune, ‘Don’t worry Be Happy.’ Life entered a state of headphone-wearing-chilled-out-bliss. In fact, those lyrics still play in my head and I’ll admit I use them as a coping mechanism in stressed-out situations. A bit of Bobby’s soulful smooth voice – ‘Here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry’ just calms me right down.
2015 and I have three children and a husband who likes to be on time. (What is it they say again about women marrying someone like their father?). But when it’s just me and the kids going somewhere…let’s just say I’d rather be sneaking in a few minutes late than rush to arrive flustered and without shoes and underpants. Note - this has actually happened. No - they were not my knickers! I taught my child ‘don’t worry be happy’ in the carpark when she decided to announce this forgotten fact. Unfortunately, one of my children has an aversion to being late (remind you of someone?). It’s ok to miss the first school bell apparently but we must be in class before the second bell. Or panic stations.
Our typical morning:
(First bell 9.10am. Second bell 9.15. Driving time to school: 10 minutes).
‘Hurry up there’s no time to put on your shoes! your sister is already waiting in the car just grab them and put them on in the car I don’t have time to tell you the time but here’s a little song I wrote we’ll make it before the second bell why are you just standing there looking like a stunned mullet? you might want to sing it note for note oh no the baby’s done a poo! but don’t worry what do you mean where’s that permission note? have a look it must be stuck on the fridge but please RUN! it’s ok baby don’t cry be happy now let me fix your nappy now what are you still doing here without your shoes and did you find that note? run and get a pen while I’m washing my hands ok how many times have I asked you to get your shoes? look I’ll get them here they are now run to the car please why do I have to do everything? cause when you worry your face will frown and put your seatbelt on! and that will bring everybody down oh help I’m turning into my mother!
Ah yes. We’re only human.
When my husband drives I put my makeup on in the passenger seat because it means we will
be on time. Often he will glance at me and ask something like, ‘What’s that on your cheek honey?’ and I will reply, in my most deadpan voice,
‘It’s lipstick darling.’
Don’t worry, be happy now.