Thursday Afternoons. If you are looking for me, I’m currently ensconced in a sofa, my ears are full of dance studio music – a warm-up polka competing with an Italian operatic aria.
There are mums coaxing reading comprehension and maths answers out of school children, as well as the excited chatter of younger children in the toy corner and low-pitched constant background rumble of adult conversation.
Children safely escorted into their appropriate class, kisses exchanged. Barring any toilet, cardigan or water requests, the next 45 minutes are mine to spend how I please. I could check email, read internet articles, Pinterest or Facebook. If I was braver I could dash out for a coffee or supermarket sprint. Usually I chat a bit, cull recent photos on my phone and then the children flood out and it’s time to pop street shoes and cardigans on, say goodbye to friends and walk home.
My mind is trying to tune out all the peripheral buzz and navigate a clear path down to my fingertips, the touchscreen of my phone and back again.
Fifteen minutes to go, that’s positively a lifetime these days. Years ago before children, I would have dawdled and pottered aimlessly for hours. Now life is a bit faster paced and unpredictable aka exciting. Yet I am happy with the small moments in time which I can choose to fill however I please. Because one day the moments will become longer and then eventually I won’t be needed to escort children to school, play-dates and activities, provide cuddles and kisses, read stories and supervise homework.
But for now, negotiating the fine line between encouraging independence vs mindfulness vs boundaries multiplied by two primary school children is life.
A couple of days again we stopped on the walk home from school to rest tired legs (theirs) and tired backs (mine). I had some pashminas in my backpack which I’d stopped to take photographs with earlier in the day. Our Z selected a teal-coloured pashmina shawl and decided she wanted to play photoshoot with it in the soft autumn breeze against the fading afternoon sun, and I snapped some quick photos on my phone as directed.
These are the moments which i recount to my other half, and memories I’ll look back gladly on someday from now.