Syd goes away day


Half an hour before Syd goes. Patrick in the front room fixing bike lights to his frame. He woke me at 7.25am so that I could spend some time with him before he departs. He was out last night at the fair with friends so I saw little of him. I was in bed falling asleep when he got home.

I think I should give up writing this now. Need to concentrate on Syd. Had hoped to complete it whilst Syd was getting dressed, but he is back downstairs now and this is impossible. Patrick is listing off instructions to Syd about lights and how to charge them and complaining that I have taken all the chargers. Ahhhhh I will just make coffee. This is not the right time. When is?

Syd is visibly nervous and anxious waiting for his dad to arrive to collect him. He stands at the window with his bag on his back. I try to encourage him to relax to sit down take his bag off his bag, but he won’t listen. He stands looking. He is twitchy. He cannot sit, only stand.

I rush upstairs to find a pair of tracksuit bottoms for him, that I have washed and folded and placed in his wardrobe. I come back down with the tracksuit bottoms and a festering glass of milk that is beyond off it has turned to cheese. YAK. Bad mum=Bad milk.

I show him a little time lapse film of honey bees developing in the hive. He is still twitchy and cannot really concentrate on what I am showing him. Thats fine, I was just trying the age old distraction trick, it does’nt always work. Parting filled with anticipation and sadness and excitement. I am so pleased that his dad had taken out some time to spend just with Syd, they are cycling the coast to coast road from cumbria to northumberland along Hadrians Wall. He will be cycling an average of fifty miles a day. Such a great rite of passage. He has been training for weeks, going to the gym and cycling up and down Cragg Vale which is the longest steepest incline in the area. Its the one that formed a part of the Tour De France route.

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Syds dad arrives. Time passes quickly. Cant stop it. Must grab hold of it. My son. My eldest son. Now taller that me. A young man. When he was born I said to his dad, think one day he will have a beard, that day draws shockingly close. Must make the most of each day, each moment. Syd makes trips too and from the car, bags, a bike helmut, bike trainers….the front door is slightly a jar and I can see his dad loading the bike into the back of his estate car. Can I have a kiss goodbye ? I ask Syd, and he smiles back at me and says just a minute mum. I worry that he will forget to come back in and give me my parting kiss, but he does not. He opens the door. I stand up to say goodbye and he lifts me into the air. My son can pick me up. My son is taller and bigger than me. My son almost a man. I adore him. I love his playfulness. My son so small a baby thrust out into the world between my legs now picking me off my feet  launching me into the air, holding my body with my legs dangling. My son is strong. I am proud. I feel like a bronze Louise Bourgeois sculpture. See if I can find which one. The one I saw at Mima, its black, hanging, suspended, two bodies.

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Patrick leaves for a walk so I can concentrate. I am glad that he understands that I cannot write with constant chatter and interruptions. Naoise is asleep. He so needs to rest. Sweet thing woke this morning and said to me mummy its Saturday its the weekend. I told him to rest to go back to sleep. He is so beautiful hair all messed up fluffy duckling boy. The light streams in on his peach skin. Always a pleasure to  watch his beauty. Always joyous to wake with my youngest child beside me. So comforting to hear his deep breathing.

The buzzer is on, I set it at twenty minutes. The washing machine tumble dryer is doing its stuff. I have managed to work on completing some of the mountain of washing. There is always a mountain. I have realised that I cannot defeat it, that there will always be washing and washing up and dust and clutter, and when the children grow older and leave home I will live in a tidy neat house and I will miss the mess and the lego and the piles of this and that all thrown together in a crazy heap.

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What to do to day? To visit my mum. Mum always comes here so I will go there alone. I need some time out. I need to see mum,  feel some comfort. Be content in her presence. We plan to walk a walk that we used to make with the dog when I was younger. To the moss. Its flat, flat, flat, where they live. There are fields with barbed wire boundaries instead of stone. There are fresian cows and fields of rape seed, strawberry fields and potatoes growing.

Beep beep, take out the dry duvet cover from the dryer put in another sheet, close door.

Naoise wakes up and shouts Mum, I have got poo in my pants. So this is the stop. This is the full stop. The phone rings, its mum. This is the other full stop.

Why can’t great artists be mothers? Jacoba Urist, Women in the 21/05/15


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