She sits down at the kitchen table warming her hands by placing them around the mug of freshly brewed piping hot coffee. It is early but she is already drinking her third cup. She knows that there will be plenty more consumed before the day is over and considers just how many of her problems and concerns are momentarily erased as she silently sips it. And smiles at the very idea of drinking this black heaven all day just to stay in the peace of mind that she is currently in but she knows that it can’t , it won’t last.
She looks up moments later when the door to her right creaks and opens slowly. The door-frame is partially darkened by the small silhouette of her young son standing there dressed only in his socks and underpants. She moves her gaze up towards his face and notices the tear streaked cheeks and the swollen eyes and knows immediately that it is going to be one of those days.
She sighs and puts down the coffee mug and walks over, crouching down in front of the little boy and wraps her arms around his tiny frame. He relaxes a little and sobs quietly into her shoulder. She mentally puts on her compassion hat and takes off her questioning one. She strokes his hair gently and says nothing, but hugs him firmly rocking him back and forth waiting for the storm to pass.
Eventually the sobs turn to sniffles and she releases him leaning back to see his face. His tears have dried and his mouth is crinkled at the corners and have started to resemble the makings of a small but definite smile. This is his way of saying thank you. He can’t find the words, he has autism, but she knows, because she loves him.
Finally she exhales.
She may never find out exactly why her son was upset but she’s learned that she will find out if she needs to know. She lives in the moment because it’s all she can manage right now.
Her attention is grabbed by a loud bang followed by a fit of boyish giggles and out of the corner of her eye she spots her youngest son land on the floor in front of his bed on a massive pile of pillows and cushions that she could swear she put away the night before! She watches as he climbs up onto his window-sill and prepares to launch himself again. Her instincts kick in and she reaches out and catches him mid-air and places him upright on his feet on the floor and ushers him out to the kitchen so she can make a start on breakfast.
As she rounds the corner in the hallway she glances down into her daughter’s bedroom and sees her sitting on the edge of her bed.
She has her earphones on and her iPod in her hands and is swaying and lip-syncing to the latest pre-teen tune she is listening to and is oblivious to her mother’s presence. She stands there and watches her for a few minutes fighting the flashbacks of her little baby girl standing in her cot with arms outstretched calling “Mama, Mama I’m awake”.
She sighs again and remembers her promise to herself to live in the here and now. The past is passed, make new memories and live in the present.
A shriek comes form the kitchen and she snaps back to reality and rushes down to determine the cause of the commotion. She sees the pile of cereal on the floor amidst the broken crockery and is thankful that the milk hadn’t yet been poured. With one hands she soothes her frightened child and with the other she reaches for the dustpan and sweeps up the carnage.
New bowls are filled and carried to the table to the hungry, impatient children.
The phone rings and it’s her husband who is away on business. He is ringing to tell her that he will be home early tonight and that he has missed them all and can’t wait to see them, she replies that she loves him too and has also missed him but explains that she has no time to talk at that moment and promises to call him later.
She adds that task to her already over crammed mental diary.
As she hangs up the phone the doorbell chimes and she wonders who on earth would be calling at this hour? She signs for the package and places it on the counter and finishes preparing school lunches.
By now the children have gotten down from the table and started to play with their toys. The interruptions distracted them and they didn’t know how to get back into their routines. She gently guides them back to the breakfast table and spoon-feeds both of her sons to ensure that they actually eat. She knows that 8 and 5-year-old should be able to do this themselves but she takes the path of least resistance because she knows the drama that follows if she puts too much pressure on them before school. She is aware that their routines were messed with and adjusts things accordingly.
The boys finish eating and she steers them towards the clothes that were ironed the night before and laid out on the ends of their beds and helps them to get dressed.
She calls down the hallway to her daughter telling her to hurry up and get into the shower because time is ticking. She gathers up the breakfast dishes and washes them in the sink and notices that her cup of coffee is now stone cold. She pours it down the drain and sighs.
She barely remembers the days when she only had herself to get ready. How she was able to arise only 20 minutes before she needed to leave and managed to shower, apply make up and eat breakfast in record time. But she knows those days are long gone and this is her current chapter.
After what seems hours, she gathers the children and leads them to the front door. She kisses her coffee machine affectionately on the way past and promises him that she will return soon. He children giggle because they’ve seen her do this many times before.
She loads children, bags, books and lunch boxes into the car and reverses down the driveway with a big smile plastered on her face.
She is happy, she is thankful but she’s exhausted.
And it’s still only 8am.