The large warehouse loomed in the distance; not in the slightest bit attractive from the outside but my inner self aware of the bright garish colours covering a plethora of children’s activities awaiting inside. The excited little child of mine skips happily from the car park hardly being able to contain her excitement.
‘Wow, mummy! Look at the big slide,’ is all she could say as we enter the play centre; my noise curling upwards as a bizarre musty smell reaches my awareness.
‘Grin and bare, grin and bare,’ is all I can think ‘Michelle will be here soon with the girls’.
Shrieks of joy fill the space; children zoom past running from one climbing frame to another. Metallic springs clink from the trampolines as the children try to outdo one another in jump heights.
‘I can jump higher than you!’
‘Mummy! Look how high I can jump!’
Fake spider’s webs and cheap-looking plastic skeletons provide the clue Halloween is just around the corner. Paper witches hang from the ceiling accompanied by paper pumpkins. I shiver as the chill in the space brushes through my bones; the bright red faces of the running children tell me I am alone in my rate of temperature. Dotted around the room mothers enjoy a well-deserved coffee break relieved their off-spring are playing amongst the rainbow-coloured ball pit, whizzing down huge slides and burning off any excess energy, not requiring full adult attention.
Music from a mini carousel blasts out from one side of the space, the sound clashing with the nursery rhymes playing out from the buildings sound system. Happy cries from the children add to the mix of sounds as they run to get a seat on the carousel. New mums beam at their little ones being able to go on the ride on their own for the first time, the milestone being recorded on their smart phone.
‘One for the memory books,’ says one mother.
‘You can’t miss a thing,’ says another.
Delight waves through me as I spot my friend with her girls; I know the girls will play together which will allow us to become those mothers of the room enjoying adult conversation. Even though the coffee tastes bitter as we sip it from paper cups, hoping it will take the chill out of our bodies, we enjoy the short time we reconnect slightly into our former childless selves. Then all too soon time is upon us, and the moment comes to round up the children, the home time fight begins ending one chapter of the day to start a new one.