Today I have been thinking about…rain. It makes the crops grow, my mother used to say. I bet yours did too.
I’ve got to say that it’s small comfort when you’ve left for the school run in brilliant sunshine, and are therefore unprepared for the deluge of – ouch, is that hail? – appearing halfway up the road.
When the jackets are still wet from yesterday and you can’t find the waterproof trousers: and the car’s in the garage, before you ask. I’m not voluntarily walking in this downpour. When the children are actually screaming with outrage as their non-soluble skin has been exposed to the horror of pure water. You drag them on, trying to remember whether Acid Rain is still a ‘thing.’
Just dreich, cold, dripping, numbing: horrible.
But…it does make the lush, green, sustaining, miraculous crops grow.
Today I have been thinking about … swimming.
Euch, swimming. A necessary evil in the holidays, outstripped only by requests for Minecraft, or for me to finally relent and download Pokemon Go.
‘But swimming, really?’ I ask. ‘It’s such a lovely day.’
I am informed that lovely days don’t have flumes in them. Not yet. So off we go. I stand out of the water, wearing less than I would ever voluntarily clothe myself in. My teeth chatter in time with the anxiety ringing in my ears as they whoosh down the flumes. Then another ten minutes of queuing. Fun, right?
The worry lessens after the third go. I find some tinyspace and float peacefully. The heavy weightlessness buoys me up and away to a pleasant dreamland.
I love the post-swim clean feeling too. (I know, I know, it’s just chlorine.)
Today I have been thinking about…voting.
Last week we all got dragged out to vote.
There are two halves to my village, but tensions between the communities are rare: those who have lived here for a long time, and those who moved here recently, get along mostly fine.
The sun shone all day. People crossed the bridge over the Tyne-river, safely, to cast their votes.
Our polling station is an ex-Temperance Hall, a piece of our narrow-minded history, now used for toddlers, lunch club. The kids came with me: I know they are safe here, their Eastern European heritage doesn’t matter, isn’t noticed.
They wanted to remain in the polling station – to see how other people voted – but we had to leave. ‘We need to go now. People want space, and peace to vote,’ I said. ‘Let’s go.’
The warmth of his comfortable weight.
His hand fiddles
with my thumbnail,
his feet dangle
to my knees.
His hair as
soft and fluffy as
the inside of his favourite jumper,
a perfect mess of haywire strands,
always in need of a cut.
His breathing inhales, exhales through my body:
lift, then relax.
a view of angelic eyelashes.
He leans into my chest,
being pinned to the chair
by this sweetest of distractions,
all the other things I could be doing,
should be doing,
I stay here.
Let me savour this moment,
for those for whom the moment never comes,
for the years and years beyond this day
when he won’t sit on my knee anymore.
And 140 words is not enough,
to describe this,
of my son
sitting on my knee.
Today I have been thinking about…pee.
In a house with two boys under ten, it’s all about the pee. Banning ‘toilet talk’ from the table doesn’t help with the other 23 hours. The word ‘butt’ reigned: until last week, when they graduated to the word ‘booty.’ I’ve gone to zero tolerance mode on the state of the toilet. If I arrive in the bathroom and it is not even up to my lax standards of cleanliness, that’s bad.
And last night I received the least favourite of night time visits – ‘Mum, I’ve peed the bed again.’
Stripping and griping, I wondered if I could squeeze out some positivity, along with the pee, from these experiences. Of course I can. Some people don’t get to have any children, and others don’t get to snuggle them into their own beds every night.