Home was good, though — our new after-school childcare person is a footballer, so the boys are well thrilled. He is also a jolly good cleaner, so I am well thrilled too. The boys are used to being journo kids — they missed their dad, but flicked straight into helping-out, getting-on-with-it mode.
I kind of enjoyed the quiet and calm of the week, but realised within half an hour of Ian being home that the volume in the house had quadrupled and I had slowed to snail’s pace. I guess we had all been managing and looking after each other and that was good, but we need Ian to relax us and let things go. It was a good reminder of the ways we balance each other, of the dance we do as opposites.
The boys were pretty scratchy, but by the time we had eaten bento, driven round the harbour, played soccer, made a sandcastle, conducted watery experiments on the sandcastle, snuggled on the sand, driven round the best inlet in the city, seen baby stilts and a kingfisher and got home, we seemed to have made it back into ourselves again.
And then we each found our own peace. Ian tidied up and did chores. I planted 40 zucchini seedlings out, picked a salad of baby leaves and flowers, and cut back some lupins and sorrel that had gone to seed. The Cat watched soccer videos. And the Rabbit made things.
He started by cutting back sorrel, but was interrupted by his bowels, which we only knew about because he left the bathroom in a less than ideal state. Then Ian found him in the workshop with a large piece of wood in the vice with the words “side 1” written on it. “What are you doing?” Ian asked. “Making a run for the guinea pigs,” said Rabbit.
Later, we were having dinner. Ian was drinking wine, eating pasta and talking to me. I was drinking wine, eating pasta and reading a book. The Cat was calculating the value of our car relative to the weekly income of a professional footballer (low). The Rabbit was drawing circles and cutting cardboard. Five minutes later, he had finished a set of traffic lights.
Awkward. I was going to write a post about my new job and then I was going to write a post about Fiji and then I was going to write a post about Rabbit’s bike and then I was going to write a post about family life and then I was going to write a post about books and then I was going to write another post about my new job and then I was going to write a post about something else, chickens or politics or coffee or washing or Lionboy or asparagus most likely, and probably definitely about the garden at some point, which has been The Project most weekends lately and now we have 46 kinds of edible things growing in it and here’s some spring evening photos because I’m sorry I’ve been away and I might be back.
Indeed there are. Long may there be words.
In my 20s, I came out as bisexual. I didn’t come out very far — and possibly not very accurately given that my mother decided based on my explanation that most of us are probably a bit that way inclined, or maybe she’s right — but it was a milestone in a long journey of worry and confusion and fear. It was also a milestone that opened up some space for joy and community and understanding. And dancing. Always, there was space for dancing.
I’ve been in a relationship with a man since then, so it all feels a bit academic or something now, something I don’t really have the lived experience to claim. It’s easier in this world to play the straight card, to fit in and keep quiet. Quiet when activist, feminist friends edge towards transphobia, quiet when conservative relatives, colleagues, random strangers make bad jokes, quiet when my interests are assumed to be political and not also personal.
Well, it doesn’t feel academic this week. It feels like I’ve been quiet too often and for too long. I look at this beautiful next generation we’re raising and I cry for the ones for whom we needed to change the world and whom we have failed. I don’t want them to have to seek out safe spaces; I want the whole world to be safe for them, to celebrate who they are and who they love. I’d thought we were getting there. But this week, this terrible, gut-wrenching week, it feels like nothing has changed at all.
Matariki started last week, the sisters rising, the year turning. It’s been a gathering, quietening time, a waiting time too, with all the tension and patience that demands.
The valley is marking the season with a festival today, and I saw the fire of the hāngi rising into the early morning air as I drove to Barre class this morning. We’re celebrating in our own way this year: the Rabbit is laid low with a cold, the Cat is reading 25 books for the 40 hour famine, Ian and I are planting trees.
On the hill, the hens are splashes of gold, and so are the trees around us. It’s unseasonally warm, and we make nervous jokes about climate change as we scan the sky for the storm clouds that must surely come. The music from the festival drifts up the hill, and I throw a smile down to meet it, send a flicker of greeting from my quiet patch of this earth.
The reporter and I tracked the Lindsay yesterday. It’s an elusive little creek, disappearing behind houses and slicing under roads. The lower reaches are concreted and, well, kinda grotty, but it gets more open and burbly as you walk up it. We even saw riflemen flitting in the trees at one point! Featuring dorky photos and urban weeds.