Coaxing, soggy cereal, cooing pigeon
9.30am ( at the table)
I decided against a walk today, my back is aching. Its a ridiculous injury, I was stupid and gave P a hand up to help him climb a tree.
We were fashionably late today. I tried hard to coax Naoise out of his sleep. I got him dressed around seven, he was asleep as I was doing so. I tucked him back in. I tried waking him again at eight, then twenty past, then half past. I carried him gently down the stairs at twenty to nine. He was still in a deep slumber. I placed him on the sofa. I tried to rouse him with warm breakfast milk and talk of cereal. He lay still. I talked to him about the fact that we were running late, but my protestations fall on death ears.
I try to remain calm and not get anxious. I don’t think that this situation has anything to do with a lack of respect for me or for getting to school on time. This is to do with exhaustion. He is genuinely tired in the morning. Lacking in impetus and lacking in urgency. I got up at six this morning. Its nothing to do with lack of care. Its nothing to do with not trying.
Still it makes me anxious. I hate being late. I am sure that I am being judged on the quality of my parenting by my ineptitude to get Naoise to school on time. I hope not.
I forget to look right at the dangerous crossing near the railway arches. Fortunately, I just manage to spot the car that hasn’t seen us trying to cross art the last moment. I just forgot. In my rush to get to school on time I forgot to look, the most basic of actions The most basic of care.
We cross safely. I love scooting alongside Naoise. He delights in touching my hand and saying Ma Ma, Ma, Ma; hello baby I reply. Its fun to regress.
The lolly pop man can see that I am anxious. I remark that N does not seem to understand what late even means. You are here and that is the main thing he replies. Yes we are here we are present, we have arrived.
I see the caretaker and ask him if he can leave the front gate open just a little longer so that I can exit via the lower path. He jangles a bunch of keys and smiles. I press the buzzer on the main entrance to be let in. I do feel shameful. I probably should not, but I do. Schools appreciate a parent that follows structure and rules not a parent that seems lasse fair. If you are late though, you might as well be properly calmly nonchalantly late.
Naoise grabs my hand. His hand is small and warm and soft to the hold. I love holding his hand. Is Naoise protecting me offering me support or is it the other way around. He brings me comfort. He proudly shows me his picture displayed on the wall on the way down the stairs. Its a picture of us his Famlee, and it states that his favourite thing is Seein my Famlee. I gush with love and pride and oh maybe sentimentality at this image. I love that we are gods to him. We all adore our Naoise. He brings hope and light to all our lives. He holds my hand. He holds me in the now. He is the present.
I walk back along the canal path. On the way I look for exciting things to photograph. I see a bubble break the surface of the brown water, a fish breathing gasping air, making concentric circles as it dives back down into the muddy gloom. This incident is too quick to capture on my smart phone camera. Can’t capture and record everything. Every thought. There needs to be some section process.
The light is dull today, no magic in its grey. Walking under the railway bridge I am struck by the cooing of the pigeons. The cooing is soothing, loud, urgent. I notice feathers. Pigeon feathers. What looks like a violent struggle, blood, no body. Seeing death. Seeing blood. Seeing the fragility of life.
Every morning Naoise sneezes before school. A violent sneeze. I have a roll of toilet paper that sits on the table at the ready. I can preempt this action.
I had to persuade Naoise to brush his teeth this morning, its probably not that great to persuade him with horror stories of fillings and injections, perhaps a star chart and a sticker would more appropriate. I am all out of imagination and creativity though. I cannot always think on my feet. Persuasion. Need to work on persuasion.
When I get home I take off my heavy walking boots, boil the kettle make a cup of tar coffee. Think about the word coax, care, and notice the bowl of soggy cereal lying redundant on the table.
What is this project about? Can I reduce it down? Can I speak clearly? Its about me. Its about me and my children. Its about me and my family. Its about raising sons. Duality. Time. Fragility. An urgency to record. To share. To understand.
To persuade myself of the value of care. To persuade my doubting, vulnerable, unsure self of the value of making art. To help support a practice that may/may not help with my health and wellbeing.
Coaxing myself. Caring. Its about temporality. Seeing time slipping, passing and grasping on. Holding. Holding tight to my youngest child’s hand. Not wanting his firm grasp to slip from mine. Holding tight to the beautiful hugs that my teenage son gifts me with each morning. Holding on to these tender moments of joy amidst what feels messy , out of control, a pot without a handle. I am pouring a cup of mothering and sharing it with you.