Monday was busy at our house.
It was a holiday and we spent it entertaining a dear friend from university, her husband and their two children, aged six years and nine months. The kids played and splashed in the pool and the adults attempted to visit and enjoy a meal.
And it was busy.
Neither entertaining nor visiting are quite the same when little ones are underfoot. There are glorious messes made of carefully chosen food and drink. There is constant running and fetching. There are conversations interrupted in mid-sentence by a cry or a shriek or worse, a prolonged silence.
And so it was with no small sense of satisfaction that a few hours in I finally exhaled on our deck, lifted a glass of wine and congratulated myself on pulling off a warm and welcoming afternoon: the meal had been enjoyed, the parents were relaxing and the kids were safely tucked away in the downstairs playroom.
But just moments later I caught my breath when my friend's husband returned from a check downstairs clutching Graham's hand. My son was sobbing as if his little heart would break.
"Graham was just sitting by himself in the corner crying," he said. "I asked him what was wrong and he said he couldn't help it, he just missed his mommy today."
My heart sank as I opened my arms, gathered him to me and smothered him with kisses.
And just as surely as Graham's tears dried up so did the smug sense that I had somehow managed to create an afternoon where everyone had been touched by my warmth and hospitality.