My late father in law was a great one for a saying. From the “see you at the lights” hurled at all those rushing clowns that cut you up on the road to the awesome: “he who works and does his best goes down the road the same as the rest”.
My favourite by far is:
You are not dead yet”.
A saying that I seem to utter a lot to myself or my husband. As it sings of a promise of starting afresh each day. Something you need when you are raising children.
My children are all now in school full time and I work just part time. This should mean that the juggling plate-spinning circus act of the past nine years is a distant memory. I used to dream about time to myself whilst simultaneously dreading an empty nest.
Yet, somehow we are half way through the school year and things haven’t materialised as I thought. I am starting to think that ‘day off’ is as much of a misnomer as ‘organised fun’.
I don’t feel like I am suffocating anymore, but it still feels far too busy. And still nothing seems to get done.
I had huge plans for this ‘day off’ from painting my whole house, training for marathons (ahem), lunching in town with friends and attempting some freelance work. Generally, I was going to create this utopia consisting of an amazing clutter-free, well-run, stress-free homestead with home-cooked meals and hearty banter.
I am not sure what went wrong.
Just the other night I put down the iPad where I’d been stalking all my imaginary friends who have nice hair and kitchen islands and pondered on the day that was done.
I thought about all the things that had niggled and gnawed.
How I screeched like a banshee at the girl because she wouldn’t go look for a hair bobble out of the two billion dotted around the house.
How I had forgotten again to chase down social services to sort out our respite, or ring wheelchair services to get on the waiting list for the next size chair for my chunking out boy.
How I had ended the working day with more things on my ‘to do’ list than when I first sat down with a brew.
How I felt irrational rage when a child from my big boy’s school had drove past and made the “L” for loser sign at him.
How I wanted to crush him to my chest and never let go when his little face fell and he whispered “I think that was just a joke’ mummy”.
How I got distracted on Twitter (for work, honest) and so didn’t have time to go the butchers before school to make that stew they all love and instead served brown things from the freezer.
How when the two big ones took turns jumping in the bath with Gabe – giggling and playing some game – I didn’t marvel at the moment, but just grumbled about how bedtime was lasting until midnight.
How I rushed through the bedtime reading impatient to flop on the couch and flick inanely through social media and 458 channels just to find nothing to watch.
I thought of all these things in which I had failed or fell short and felt the familar panicky tightening in my chest.
But then I breathed deeper and remembered the wise words.
You are not dead yet.
Tomorrow stars again. I get to make the same blunders, oversights or gaffes once more. And then again after that.
Maybe it will work out better this time, maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll remember to call my mum, or make it to the gym, or buy fruit, or even take the lunch boxes out of the school bags so they don’t smell of cheesy poo in the morning.
And then again maybe I won’t.
But it doesn’t matter.
I am not dead yet.