Since 30th December 2000, we have had scrapbooking parties, me and my friends. It started out at this Kerstin’s house because she had been doing it for years and she has chronic fatigue disorder so she preferred to have it at her house. We were quite a large group then and became die hards. We met once a month, on a Saturday, at her house from 15:00 till one was too tired. Then it started to become a burden for her to always stand and cook, so it was decided that we would take turn to cook, but bring the food to her house. I disliked this since I don’t have many recipes for cold food and to stand and cook in someone else’s kitchen where you can’t find things… I was not the only one that objected and more and more people started objecting to that they never got to stay home and host the party. It’s not fun to drive home tired every time. Sometimes it would be nice to just dive in to bed as soon as it is over, was our reasoning. So, we started a rotating schedule. One person would host one month, the one of their choice, another one would offer to have it the next and so on. It worked fine till about when Kerstin started to have grandchildren. Then she started objecting to having it on Saturday evenings, when she wants to be with her children and husband. I am with my children every day, every week and don’t understand why it would be considered a sacrifice to be with girlfriends once a month? My family loves it when I go to scrapbooking. They get to have tacos, see a film, stay up late, no nagging mother. And I come home a much happier mother with re-charged batteries. I wonder if something is wrong with me since the others do not agree. True. The diehards have moved away, except Kerstin. But she has all grown children now, T. points out, and wants to fill her boring days with something. Her idea for scrapbooking is to meet during the day on a weekday instead. She has been sick retired for years so she doesn’t work like many of the others. So she is ruling them out. We would only be three people that could come. And I can not really come can I? What is the point of me driving out to her at 8:50, arriving 9:30 and then leaving 10:40 to fetch “Sparky” at 11:20? You can’t even get one page done in that amount of time and you certainly can’t relax. She suggested that I host instead and go off to fetch him at 11:15, and them staying alone in my house for those minutes. But then we would have him running around.
Saturday, I was at scrapbooking. Kerstin decided to be with her daughter instead but four (including me) of the regulars were there and three I have never met before. One Swedish and two French. So with one American present as well, the table sounded like the tower of Babel. Fun! But when the “unusual” guests had left, the four of us regulars stood and discussed next scrapbooking. I went to the loo first, so I missed part of the conversation but what the three of them came up with was, meeting on Saturday mornings instead. At 10:00 and go on to 12:00. I kept my mouth closed. Saturday is the only day that I can stay in bed longer than 6:30. Saturday morning in our house starts with sorting laundry, starting the first machine and then start cleaning. If something needs to be purchased, we have to be off to town soon thereafter, since most shops close at 14:00. If I was to head off to scrapbooking at 9:20, guess how much laundry would get done that day? And guess what the house would look like when I got home? And who wants to do all those things in the afternoon and evening when it is finally time to unwind and relax. Sorry! This plan is even worse than Kerstin’s. I am not driving for half an hour anywhere, to just stay for two hours and then be kicked out so that the hostess can be with her family. I don’t see the point in packing together all my scrapbooking things for that, for planning pages ahead and most of all, I do not see the point in wasting the petrol. This all just means, that they can count me out. I have declined the weekday scrapbooking meetings already and I am certainly declining this latest scheme. So, I will sit here isolated all week, surrounded by my children (that I of course love dearly) and then spend all weekends with them as well. No breather at all. No time to myself ever. It feels very sad. I miss Tiffany and Annika so much. They knew what it means to need time to oneself. They were always up for scrapbooking and getting away from home, for an evening. The sad thing is that it’s never been forced on anyone to stay till late. Kerstin changed our beginning time too 14:00, so people would go home earlier. I never make it till 15:00! But people can go home when they want to!!! I just draw the conclusion that my needs are not other people’s needs. But then I recall what all my doctors have asked me: “You do see to that you get some time to yourself don’t you? It’s important!”. Well, previously I have told them that I go to scrapbooking once a month but now I will probably have to answer: “No! I have no time to myself at all!”. It feels so sad to give this all up. It’s been a routine for 12 years. But to be honest, the last two years we have not met EVERY month since most of the others are too busy. I am so very tired every day that I have not scrapbooked since Serena Rose died, more than AT the parties. I used to sit from 20:00-22:00 or 23:00, every night, here at home, scrapbooking. Having the TV on, the children in bed. That was my time. But not so any more. I can’t stay awake till 20:00. I go to bed and only the three youngest are in bed by 20:00 now. So, what to do? I miss the old days!