I'm feeling a lot like a parent at the moment, M & D are away in Barcelona for 5 days, and, as I'm the only sibling with a car and a driving license, I have been required to ferry my brother (18) and sister (28) to and from work. It's not a responsibility that I find particularly laborious, but it is a responsibility nonetheless. For example, last night after collecting my sister from the train station 10 miles away, I returned home, checked all the lights were off, checked the locks and left the porch light on for my brother, who was coming back late from a gig. I sat in bed reading until I heard his key turn in the door, and, after checking he'd taken his epilepsy pills, allowed myself to fall into a deep sleep. My sister, as far as I know, just went to bed.
This morning I woke up at 6.30 am, 90 minutes earlier than I usually get up, as I had to take my sister to the train station and then my brother to ASDA. This little commute took 40 mins. I then returned home, folded up their towels, turned off their bedroom lights (they'd both left their lights on, what?!), took the bins out, turned the dishwasher on and loaded the washing machine, eventually setting off for work at about 8.52 am.
I can actually see now why some parents enjoy coming to work as a sort of respite from the responsibility of providing transport and general support for their loved ones. I'm shattered, but feel cosily cosseted in my office. I do love my sister and brother stacks and I really don't mind taking them places in my car, but sometimes I don't think they realise how that then makes the responsibility fall on my shoulders instead of theirs. Example - if my sister gets stranded at the train station at night and there are no buses then it's my responsibility to go and fetch her home safely. If my brother needs to come home from work sick then the responsibility falls to me to go and collect him. Likewise it's my responsibility to ensure that they both get to work on time, and I have to sacrifice about 2 hours of my day to ensuring that this happens.
Petrol costs are another thing. How do you charge your beloved family, begotten from the same womb as you, for lifts? I'm telling you it's a very tricky one to handle. I could only bring myself to ask my brother and sister for about £3 each yesterday, which is actually about half of the money I need to fill my car up with sufficient fuel to take them to all the places that they need to go, and I only asked them because I have approx £12 to live on until Friday, which has to pay for sawdust, rabbit food, a bus fare to Peterborough and a prescription. If I had more than £12 I'd probably have let them off. Because I'm soft, even though they both think I'm hard as nails.
It just seems that, for some bizarre reason, my parents and siblings have picked me out as the next most responsible adult; it's me that's getting the mince out of the freezer and planning when everyone will be at home for dinner, it's me that knows when and where both siblings need depositing/collecting from, it's me that checks the front door and locks the patio doors at night, and it's me that gets the least sleep. I find it telling that my brother rang me, and not my sister, to tell me that he'd be home late and to check it'd be ok. It's not that she's irresponsible, I just think she's more able to pass responsibility for herself over to others. Christ, I'm a parent, and I haven't even given birth. I only have Neighbours at lunchtime to look forward to and a pile of laundry. Mind you, I reckon a baby'll be a cinch after this...