20th century actress Constance Collier uncannily captures my actual hairstyle and expression today.
For a brief, glorious period, I have been setting aside Wednesdays as my writing day, with Ivy at school, Ted at pre-school and Georgie at family day-care. It requires an intense morning wrangling all five of us out of the house for the day: washed, dressed, breakfasted and loaded with lunch and homework folders and assorted paraphernalia depending on age and continence ability. (If Keith forgets his Pull-Ups it can make for an awkward video Skype.)
The triple drop-off completed, I head to the coffee shop and the library for caffeine and a few wonderful, quiet, focused hours, before the end of the school day calls and it's time to do the pick-up in reverse order. Then we crack through Wednesday afternoon: music lessons, soccer training, homework, housework, dinner prep and the general management of overwrought, post-institutionalised children (mainly through the judicious application of porridge, ABC2 and Mum's lap.)
Wednesdays are busy, but those hours I spend alone in the middle; out of the house and tinkering with words, fill a important need for me. They drop me back into myself. They allow me space to think a thought through to its conclusion. They fuel me for the following week of trying to respond to the needs of others, and grabbing moments to myself in between tasks.
Alas. It's been a while.
Today, Ivy barked her way through a doctors visit where they diagnosed her with laryngitis. As the doctor listened to her chest, and her breathing rattled theatrically and satisfyingly, she grinned with pride. She's next to me now, making lists of things to research on YouTube and asking me every five minutes 'Are you finished on the computer yet? Are you finished yet?'
It's not as peaceful as my coffee shop.
Last week, the vomiting seemed finally to have finished. The last lot of defiled linens were drying in the sun, and I was desperately looking forward to a Wednesday on my own. But nay. The water heater broke down, and I had to spend the morning with a plumber who followed me around the house explaining how Hitler had invented an engine that displaced space so that objects could move faster than time, thus flying to the moon and also building the pyramids. He had seen UFO's from his house in Engadine, so he was definitely not mistaken.
It was not as peaceful as my coffee shop.
The preceding two Wednesdays had been spent cuddling miserable children and washing gastric juices out of my hair. That was not peaceful. Before that, my school holiday Wednesday may have been fun, and may have been packed with togetherness and good times and the general Making of Memories, but it was definitely, absolutely, without question, not as peaceful as my coffee shop.