For my friend's daughter's 12th birthday I am bringing her to a concert. Not one the cool kids would go to, but I don't think either of us would claim to be one of those. We're going to a piano recital in the National Concert Hall.
I loved the National Concert Hall when I was her age. I loved it, even though I fell asleep every time. I have no doubt I will do the same this time.
So I booked the tickets and we started to plan.
She can come to my house after school on Thursday evening, have dinner here and get changed. If it's ok with you, and with her, she can stay over and I'll drop her to school on Friday morning?
Thursday evening is choir after school. Her Dad will drop her over afterwards. Unless she has a rehearsal for a performance. She can't remember. She'll check. They have a rehearsal but she can't go to the performance, so no rehearsal for her.
Grand so, sorted, easy.
Realising that I will have to send her off to school with a packed lunch I ring my friend to check. "Does she eat ham? I know she eats cheese and tuna, but does she eat ham?". She'll eat ham.
Knowing my house usually has boring grown up cereal my friend advises me: "She'll eat Special K for breakfast". However, she is in luck, I have Cheerios.
Back to lunch and it's confirmed that she'll have a ham sandwich, and some fruit, and a yoghurt. No junk food, and that includes popcorn.
I am momentarily puzzled by my friend's suggestion that she will take "a cup of water", wondering how she will balance the cup of water in her school bag, before realising she means a sealed cup that belongs to her lunchbox.
For dinner I know she'll eat pasta, with my homemade tomato sauce. Either with chicken or made into a bolognaise of sorts. She'd eat a bit of green salad, but makes faces at rocket. Must remember to get green salad with rocket. Chicken or mince? Which would she prefer? Do I have spaghetti? Is penne easier?
Tidy the spare room. Return bed to bed-like state instead of usual horizontal wardrobe. Change the sheets. Have words with the duvet and its cover. Climb in, get a little panicked, come out alive. Turn on radiator. Leave out guest towels.
I want her to eat well and sleep well. I want her to enjoy her evening. I want her to feel comfortable in my home.
Somewhere between babysitting and having a house guest.