Crutches and Care

11.37am (writing at the table)

When do you think you will be done asks Syd.

He is at home, lying on the sofa. He has pulled a ligament in his foot playing football. Being on crutches is so boring. It requires great patience from him and me. I help him into the bath. Its tricky. Water and hopping and balancing. We take great care. We learn how to negotiate the poorly foot the crutches and the bath.

The washing machine turns a load of my friends clothes. It works hard. I love my machine, it never complains, it is always reliable, it does not mind dirt, and the sound of the machine comforts me. A clock to cleanliness.

At the breakfast table Naoise delighted in the letter shaped candles. Picking up the ones that had burnt down, admiring the letters that had survived, those that had remained intact. You can only burn them once, he tells me


Naoise is slow. So slow to wake. So slow to eat. So slow to write. So slow to draw. So slow to realise that we have to get to school on time.

I enjoyed parents evening. Looking through his books, beautiful drawings of animals. A chick and some cheese. Cows. Pigs. He takes great pride in his work.

The teacher talks about him being slow. Not slow of mind. Slow of action. Slow in writing. Slow in drawing, reaching for the rubber, trying to be perfect. Anxious. Slow. Slow at getting dressed. Slow at eating. Determined. Independent. Good at maths Anxious about getting things right. Slow. Great vocabulary. Slow.

I am happy he is slow. We rush around in this world. Maybe it is good to go gently, to be slow. Slow. Naoise I love your slowness as much as I find it frustrating and hard work.

I believe going slow is good. Slow down. Don’t rush. Be careful. Be happy, be content with slow.

The teacher knows my child well, she is positive and pleased with him and she does not want to pressurise him. She knows him. She tells us things that we know. Knowledge. It is comforting to share what we know of our child.

I read the article on Motherhood in art. Its great. Another book for the wish list.

I cannot really concentrate Syd is listening to a programme. Its hard to switch off from him. Its hard to ignore his presence. The movement of body on the sofa the sound of the narrator in the programme.

P made me a beautiful cake for my birthday. I am sitting in front of flowers and chocolates and cards. I had messages of love from my friends. Life is good. I cried when the candles on my cake were lit.Tears of joy. I love birthdays. Life is for celebrating. Birth is for celebrating. The candles always take me back. I am a girl. A child of five and the whole of life is reaching out magically in front of me. I am still that child, seeing out but behind the skin of a woman, a mother, eyes of middle age. Looking forward and looking back. In the middle. The middle is a good place to be. No beginning, no end, the middle of a sentence. The Now.

Sound. I have to stop. No more to say, no ability to think.


Motherhood in art: from miracle milk to joke shop breasts and caesarean scars, Zoe Williams, Wednesday 14th October, The Guardian

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