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.
I was an over-sharer before that was even a term.
As a parent, it gets me into loads of trouble. My kids are six and eight now, and I love that they ask the most brilliant questions.
‘How did you meet Daddy?’
This went well. I talked less about love at first sight, so that it was realistic: what relationships are actually like. (Because we must all mitigate against Disney every day.)
‘What’s my birth story?’
Not as successful. I told the truth, that it was really, really sore and we nearly didn’t make it to the hospital in time. I also told them about going round the Carfraemill Roundabout banging on the car door and going Aaaaaaaaaah! I may have put them off children for a while.
‘What’s abortion Mum?’
I still told the whole truth. Was that OK?
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…tiredness.
I say, ‘thinking about,’ more accurately, I have been ‘being tired’. The children woke me with yelps and screams at two minutes to six (two minutes to six!). Proof of how tired I was lay with me, as I fell asleep again immediately.
Later, I had to put the radio on for fear of not waking in time. I dragged myself through breakfast and shower and church (sorry church). I’m home now and behind schedule. I’m ratty with people. I’m sooooooo tired.
However, do not for one second sympathise with me. I have been out three evenings this week. I danced for hours on Friday. I had a special day with my wee boys on Saturday. I even fell asleep on my comfy sofa at 7:30pm last night.
My lovely, busy, tiring tinylife.
Two boys drag each other, by the leg, into the shallows. Back and forth: chasing, splashing.
It doesn’t look any fun. Being dragged by your leg in water, with your head mostly in the water. Are they breathing enough? Are they encouraged to be violent with each other?
Did they argue earlier, has the ‘game’ turned nasty?
However, is it really any of my concern? I decide to leave them to it.
Later, there they are again. Still dragging.
‘Are you still playing that game?’
I don’t get it. So I ask: a leading question, but I inject some sarcasm, just in case, as I suspect…
‘Is it, like, the best game ever?’
‘Yes. It is the BEST game ever.’
They grin, one grabs the other by the leg, and off they go.
What would I know?
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.)
My name is Will and I am 8 and I am doing a ten mile sponsored walk for refugees from Syria. I will be donating money to UNICEF. My Beaver Group challenged me to ‘make the world a better place.’ My mum showed me a project about my grandad (who was a Hungarian refugee) that my cousin Sandy wrote with my Auntie Becky. My grandad had to walk from Hungary to Austria. He was 14. It was not safe for him and his sister to live in Hungary any more. He and the other refugees walked over no man’s land. The people in Austria rang the church bells to show the refugees which way to go. At the end of my walk we will go to St Marys Church and ring the bells. If you want to sponsor me, please click here.
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.
As it’s February, we knew we’d need the wellies.
‘I haven’t put them in a bag,’ said Mr HB. I grabbed one of several favourite bags from the thousand available, but the wellies didn’t fit into it. My eldest is in the grown up sizes now.
He’s started at 1 again for the last time.
The last time you can fit the wellies into the nice Bookbug bag didn’t seem that poignant. There was, however, an internal downwards feeling. As a parent, I want to enjoy each life stage as it comes. My babies just grow, ever upwards, without a thought about how I might feel about it.
Then I remembered.
The feet within those wellies can walk further and for longer.
More space, more beauty, more air.
We climb to the top of the hills, and right through the forest.