We used to start our Christmas shopping
on the September long weekend we get here.
Until the year we stood at the mirror in the hall
and I said ‘they could share a room, anyway.’
Until the year the midwives had said ‘a line is a line is a line,’
then the bleeding started.
Until the year we had been a tiny little bit pregnant
so we went to Holy Island
now we weren’t pregnant at all, you took the toddler for a walk
so I could sit on a dune and cry.
Until the year we were pregnant again by October.
Every September weekend, I remember
the tiny little bit of pregnant I was,
over that long weekend: the anniversary of you,
you tiny little bit that never came to anything.
We never start our Christmas shopping in September.
My house is waiting.
For the silence that descends. Like golden syrup, like the homemade quilted blanket heavy with blue flowers,
the silence of no other people.
For the mythical day when everything is either on a shelf, in a drawer, or nestled in a cupboard.
For the pears to ripen and fall, ripen and fall.
For the cat to complete his rotation of sleeping places: bed upstairs, bed downstairs, sofa, office chair, other office chair, bench in the kitchen, camouflaged against a black coat on the floor.
For someone to either read all of the books, or put all of the books in the goddam charity shop.
For the sun to warm the mossy patches outside the front door:
the ones the sun never reaches.
For two children watching a red moon in their pyjamas, shivering in the dark.
‘Sugar Puffs? Weetabix? Hoops?’
‘Sugar Puffs? Why didn’t you say you wanted them when I asked you?’
‘Go get dressed.’
‘Are you dressed? Why aren’t you dressed?’
‘It’s 8:15 now. Are you dressed?’
‘I’m setting a timer. If you’re not dressed in five minutes, no screen after school.’
‘OK. Stop that. You need to brush your teeth.’
‘Putting a toothbrush in your mouth on a timer is not the same as brushing.’
‘Nooooo, brush all of your teeth, not just the bottom ones on the left hand side.’
‘Do you want your hair up?’
‘OK, you just need your snack and then you’re ready.’
‘You said you didn’t want your hair up!’
‘OK. Yes, I can put it up. No, I need to brush it properly. Well you haven’t, it’s got tangles.’
‘Go. To. School.’
‘No, you CAN’T stay home today.’
Oh, it’s June again. I probably blogged the exact same whine last year.
June 2019 highlights so far include:-
- waking up at 3:30am and making a ‘June’ calendar from an IKEA paper roll
- colour co-ordinating said calendar for each family member
- saying to myself ‘well, that’ll be OK, I just need not to add in anything else.’
- organising two more things that same day. For June.
- scheduling a mental health day for my youngest and thinking ‘oooh duvet day for me too!’
- losing all patience with a child who doesn’t want to go to school and telling them ‘I would be carted off to the loony bin’ if I home-schooled them. (Extra points for bad parenting AND derogatory language surrounding mental health all wrapped up in one grumpy sentence.)
- counting down the hours to July, summer holidays, and sweet, sweet freedom!
I was always good at learning songs and poems off by heart. Mr HB used to refer to it as ‘my super power,’ which made me feel special and precious.
Of course I’m now in my 40s and have two children. My head is so full of dentist appointments, maths homework and what on earth are we going to have for dinner tonight that the lyrics have all fallen out of my brain (science).
What is wonderful about this is that my oldest has inherited ‘the powers.’ They are regularly asked to regale their classmates with screeds of Hamilton, the musical. On the flip side, they are horrified at the draining of my super powers. I try to sing along with Hamilton in the car, and get berated constantly. NO, MUM THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT WORD!
Aaaah, humility. Thanks kids.
We try to keep the living room tidy so we have a room to collapse in with no clutter.
Mr HB did a bit of re-decorating the other day there (I’m not allowed to paint, because I’m no good at it) and the house was upside down for about a week. I walked into the living room one day and the little round table had:
a book, some newspapers, a pile of nerdy-geek cards belonging to the kids, an empty glass, and a bowl with crumbs in the bottom
And I remembered it used to be in the living room of my childhood home, because this is what it looked like – only back then would have been the Radio Times, the yellow space-invaders game, a tea mug, and a crisp packet folded into a triangle by my sister.
Oh it must be Spring. I’m busy!
I like to be busy, but not as much as the average … person? Person in the UK? Person of my generation? ‘Busy’ doesn’t take long to develop into ‘stressed,’ and ‘stressed’ has developed into psychosis – only twice, and a long time ago now, but… I don’t have the option to push myself like other people.
What has been particularly wonderful about this year, as opposed to other Springs, when I was busy with the kids, or busy with work, or busy writing things no one was interested in, is that this year I’m busy with paid, creative work. Sometimes. Other paid work has to fit around the writing, not the other way round.
Meanwhile, the children have to fit around creativity AND paid work, and are no doubt feeling very hard done by!