Being the still eye of the storm

by little red pen

So, last night I was at the arse-end of dinner preparation (you know, the bit where you’ve got about 20 minutes to go, three dishes need last-minute faffing, the table’s not set, and there’s a toddler grabbing your legs and asking for a bit of Dada’s baking), when the Cat appeared wearing shorts, a woollen vest, a sunhat, and a pair of swimming goggles.

“I just need a tyre, two strong sticks, some soapy stuff and water, and maybe some glass for a windscreen,” he said.

And once I’d stifled the urge to scream, sanctioned a little bit of baking, vetoed the glass, sent the Cat on a mission to find the sticks and a tyre (our property is quite well provisioned for these sorts of things), sorted the dinner, had a decent night’s sleep (halleluyah), got the boys to school/daycare, and settled down to work, it struck me that this sort of moment holds a lot of the essence of parenting. Everyone has their thing that they need to do, and they’d really like to do it right now. I felt like a plate spinner watching everything start to wobble and fall. I could have risen into the storm at that moment (and often do). But I found a little bit of quiet inside me and set all the plates a’spinning. And the thing we made — me and my boys — as we worked around and alongside each other, was beautiful.