We turn the calendar page to April and it mocks us. I have written ‘Edinburgh’ not once, but four times. It is scrawled joyfully in everyone’s column. There are wiggly arrows.
My bullet journal mocks me. So does my phrase for the year.
We made plans. We didn’t know. We are adjusting, or not.
I am rearranging things inside the house. The things we need easy access to have changed. I store away school uniforms and shoes. I store away my new bag for the trip we aren’t going on. (I eat the chocolate that was hidden inside).
My daughters ask many questions that begin with “When will…” , and we tell them we don’t know.
It’s not a bad answer, actually. We don’t know when.
We know about today, which looks like curry and ice-cream and Malory Towers. They are shielded, currently. The radio stays off when they are about and this gives my head some space too. I catch up on news in the evening. I check social media when they aren’t around (they are nearly always around).
Getting outside helps.
Not long ago that sentence would have been illustrated in my mind with a picture of a forest or a beach. But the same is true for the Sixmile river and the lone early morning duck. The same is true for the patch of stones at the front of our terrace house, the small space out the back. After a morning that became a little bit fraught my daughter dances past the kitchen window, embracing an outdoor brush and spinning joyfully with her ‘partner’. The day is saved, along with our sense of humour.
Some mornings are fraught, some afternoons long. Yet, overall, I put them to bed with a growing realisation that it doesn’t take much to make them happy. They are happy with the pile of stones and the brush, with the curry and the ice-cream and the “We don’t know when”. They are happy with the small house and the ordinary plan for the day. Some mornings are fraught, they always are.
Our kitchen clock is stuck at twenty past five. It seems apt. We wonder is there time to do this, or that. Yes, we decide with a grin, sure it’s only 5.20…
We eat a lot, just like the Italian writer said we would. The complexities around grocery shopping are too surreal to describe.
There are protests at bedtime, “It’s only 5.20pm!”. They awaken too early (5.20am!). We get ready for church in the kitchen, clothing optional. It will not be enough. It will be everything we need.