I am dropping balls all over the place. I cannot, at this precise moment, even SEE the ball. The ball has been booted so far off the pitch it has landed in some dense, thicketty undergrowth, where it may lie, undetected, for a while.
When my children are being little ingrates, I tell myself to cut them some slack. ‘They’ve had a hard time,’ I say, when my gut feeling is to rage and shout and throw their Nintendo Switch into the black bin. But what, I think, about cutting ourselves some slack? No one has lived through a pandemic in generations. All of this is stressful, confusing, frightening. Even when I think I’m doing ok, I am swiftly reminded that perhaps I am not, because I forget everything. I can’t keep dates in my head: even the magnetic chart on the fridge isn’t helping, as I blunder along.
Last night we went to bed early. ‘Isn’t this marvellous,’ I said to LSB, as I carefully arranged myself, so as not to poke the greyhound in the eye with my toe. ‘In bed, at 10-25 on a Monday, with the dishes done and the counter cleared.’ (I’m telling you, doesn’t pillow talk just ROCK in our house?) ‘Brilliant,’ said he, and immediately fell asleep. THE BASTARD. How do men do that?
Well, I totally jinxed myself, didn’t I? I read a bit. I turned off the light. I took deep, meditative breaths. Nothing. I might add that I was very, very tired, but regardless, no sleep was forthcoming. I blamed the tee-shirt I was wearing so I tip-toed to the bathroom and put on a different nightdress and drank some water. Still sleep evaded me.
On the mind whirled. I sat up with a jolt and remembered that the girls were supposed to be at ballet today. Or were they? I couldn’t ask LSB because he was asleep. I tossed around a bit and made exaggerated sighs to see if I could wake him up. It didn’t work. I cursed myself for being useless: this was the third thing I’d forgotten this week. My thoughts turned to asparagus. I hadn’t bought any fresh vegetables. The one remaining pepper I had left left was fried up between the four of us. That, in my book, is not a sufficient amount, because we need all the antioxidants we can get right now.
I fell asleep and woke at four, the blueish hue of dawn filtering through the blinds and the birds revving up into a full-throttle appreciation of the day. Along came the magpies, little f**kers that they are, stomping and strutting on the roof above my head. The fat cat mewed dejectedly outside. I considered just getting up and making spaghetti Bolognese, but then remembered that I had no carrots to add to the pot. God, I’m shite at this mothering business, I thought.
I finally drifted off after five and slept til seven, but you know what? I’d have been better getting up and making the blasted Bolognese because of the wretched, anxiety ridden dreams I had. I kid you not, a Walker’s Crinkle Cut Crisp boasted fewer lines than my face this morning, before I set about filling in the cracks.
As it turned out, the girls had no ballet as it doesn’t start until May, so I got that wrong. But the problems fizzing around in my head at 2am faded into insignificance upon waking. Obviously I’m not really bothered about the ballet or the vegetables or my abilities as a mum. I’m just stressed to fuck because of the year that’s been in it. It’s made me a bit madder than normal and lacking in all perspective. But we should go easier on ourselves: this is still rocky terrain as we dare to dream of normality. Be kind to your wee discombobulated selves and I’ll try to do the same.