The Older Child’s violin teacher must think highly of manners, because I keep forgetting when she’s doing her lessons by Facetime, so when he rings my mobile I invariably lift it and shriek: ‘OH FUCK!’ when she’s no where in the vicinity. I misread his text last week and thought he was able to do his lessons in person down at the school. There was the child waiting with her wee violin case in hand, while he was ringing me from his home in Donaghadee. Civil fellow that he is, he scheduled another one for the following evening at half-six. Inevitably, I forgot. She was frolicking in a friend’s garden when he called. ‘OH FUCK!’ I said, setting off down the road at speed, clutching my phone. There he was on Facetime, seeing the hedges and footpaths of my street as I hurtled along. ‘I’ll just ring back in five,’ said he. ‘Much better idea,’ I panted. I’m really not wise: this whole year has my head more mashed than the spuds for your Sunday roast.
All over Northern Ireland parents have been heaving deep sighs of relief as their progeny return to their leisure activities. My friend was down at Cherryvale Park on Friday night and with everyone back on the pitches in the sunshine, she said it was almost carnivalesque. Most people are thrilled with this dose of normality – all, of course, except me. (‘Not like you to be a contrarian, SWB,’ I hear you say.) This last while I have formed a close attachment to my sofa. We were always on good terms, but now, our relationship has deepened into Siamese twin like territory. Asking me to postphone my opportunity to rest with a book or watch Firefly Lane, especially OF AN EVENING, and I take that as a truly awful imposition.
There were, apart from the pestilence and disruption, elements of last year which appealed to me very much. As a parent, it turns out I am inherently lazy, and what threatens to push me beyond the levels of my endurance, is having to be at a particular place at a specific time. Take today (Sunday) for example. The Small Child has football training at 12pm while her sister’s training starts at one. So far so good, except she has a piano lesson at 12-30. Through some manoeuvring on the part of her kindly teacher, I have managed to put this back to 12-20. In the middle of this, I have a tennis lesson at one. Nothing, will ever come between me and my tennis lesson, because I spent my entire childhood thinking I was shite at all sports, and now that I can actually hit a ball over the net, I’m not giving up. (My instructor practically puts the ball in my lap, to be fair, but trust me, this is still progress.) If all this to-ing and fro-ing doesn’t sound like a day’s work, then I don’t know what does.
LSB sensed my trepidation about lockdown lifting, so he bought a magnetic fridge organiser. Even with our chart, which LSB has neatly divided into sections, (complete with a marker with a magnetic strip for handy fridge adhesion), I still feel stressed. ‘Let’s talk it through again,’ I said to him last night, as I tried to get the pick ups and drop offs sorted in my head. ‘Hostage handovers have been negotiated with less fanfare,’ he sighed.
Well, it was worth making the list and checking it twice because it is now 4-30 pm and everyone has been deposited where they need to be and I even did a shop and got the bottles recycled. My back hand is improving and there’s a chicken waiting to go in the oven. Man, I am ON FIRE. And guess what, I’m celebrating by sitting back down on the trusty sofa, tea in hand. That is what I call a result.