Yesterday was the day I wanted to brush Ender’s hair. (I do brush their hair, sometimes.)
Jane: Where the hell is the hairbrush? … OK, so I last brushed your hair, right here, in the middle of the living room. Um… what are the odds that I would have taken it back upstairs to the bathroom?
Cinder: Pretty much zero.
Flora: That doesn’t sounds like something you’d do.
Ender: Didn’t you throw it across the room because you got so mad at me?
We find it. In the Lego tub.
Jane: I definitely did not put it there.
Flora: Don’t look at me.
Cinder: It was probably Ender.
Ender: Sounds like something I would do. So Mom couldn’t find it.
Today is the day that I explain to the children that reading a 700 page book of poetry backwards-and-at-random while listening to Leonard Cohen is something I NEED to do for WORK. IT’s WORK, dammit.
Flora: It. So. Is. Not.
Jane: Pretend it’s the Government of Canada’s Technical Guidance on Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions and LEAVE ME ALONE!
Monday was the day I locked myself in my office (it’s a metaphor; I don’t actually have a door) (I don’t exactly have an office either) (but whatever, I make it work) (it works) (I work) (I write) with Philip Larkin, Mary Oliver, Anne Lamott and The Edge Foundation’s favourite maverick scientists* and then, for a while, abandoned them all for Sufi poets and philosophers. I sucked on the end of a fountain pen I was not using and threw chocolate wrappers at my computer screen, and called it work.
Intermittently, Sean brought me down food, coffee and chocolate.
He didn’t once ask—“Did you finish?”
Nor, “Did you start?”
Tomorrow is the day Stella’s mom looks after my children in the morning and afternoon and Baby M’s mom will look after Stella in the evening because that’s the way the web of a community works.
Sunday is never a day of rest. But I stop moving, for a while. I have a bath in the dark, with Leonard Cohen.
Ender: Mom? Where are you? Mom? Come outside with me?
Jane: I’m in the bath. Not wearing any clothes. So, um… no.
Ender: Are you crying? Why are you crying?
Fact: You can’t listen to Leonard Cohen in the dark and not cry.
Fact: You can’t cry in front of your children FOR WHATEVER REASON and not freak them out.
Ender: Daaaaddddyyy! Mommy’s crying in the bathroom!
Sean: Um… Jane?
Jane: I’m fine. I’m listening to Leonard Cohen.
Sean: Wouldn’t you rather listen to some happier music?
I turn on the lights, dry off, get dressed, and take Ender outside. I’m not done NOT moving yet. I lie on the brown, damp grass, soak up the sun.
Saturday was the day on which Flora slept over at Frederica’s house and Stella had a sleep-over with Ender, and we played Cards Against Humanity and laughed and when the night ended my lungs hurt and maybe, possibly I had broken a rib.
Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. They blur and knock into each other and I try to find their rhythm and sometimes I do, but too often it eludes me. An email, phone call in the morning sabotages everything.
You: But you thrive on chaos, right?
Me: That story is running out of juice…
Today or tomorrow or maybe yesterday, I will go for a walk with Rumi in my pocket and try to photograph the wind.
Cinder: What are we having for supper today?
Jane: Oh, fuck. Probably… food. What’s in the fridge?
Flora: Food. An assortment of food.
Jane: Good. Food. We’re having food for supper.
Flora: Some of it’s slimy.
Cinder: Don’t worry. If it’s gross, I’ll bake cookies after.
Today’s the day everything happens, and tomorrow’s the day it all begins again. And I can’t quite remember what happened yesterday. Right. I wanted to brush Ender’s hair, and couldn’t find the hairbrush. But then did.
I have to go now. Leonard Cohen wants me to take another bath with him.
PS I now desire a Blue Raincoat.
*This Idea Must Die, edited by John Brockman (Harper Perennial 2015)