From the backseat she yells at me, “SWIMMING mum, swimming. Tomorrow afternoon”. It seems the ‘durrr’ on the end was silent.
I’ve got no idea what she’s talking about, but it sounds like swimming might be on the agenda. I turn to ask her more and she rolls her eyes at me, as though I’m asking her what her name is. Surely I know this. But I don’t.
In the juggling of working full time, parenting and being a wife (even a second rate one at that), and despite all my attempts to keep things moving smoothly, sometimes things get missed. It seems swimming lessons is one of them.
We walk in the door and it’s already getting dark. Fumbling for the keys in the twilight, I hear her sigh next to me; frustrated with my incompetence of getting the door open. The change from daylight savings and winter approaching means that the days are shorter and cooler. The light globe on our front verandah is out. It’s time husband replaced it.
Eventually the key slips into the lock and she storms down the hallway, discarding her uniform along the way. Her blazer goes flying, one shoe, then the other is kicked off towards the wall, bag is slung outside her bedroom door. Not inside the door where it belongs, but just outside where I’m bound to fall over it.
Stepping over the discarded items and into the mess that’s her bedroom, we rummage through the drawers and thankfully find the preferred bathers. As well as the swimming cap and goggles. She has multiple pairs of each item, but only one will do, so we hunt until we have it all secured in the bag. A towel is shoved on top, then her gymnastics gear, finally a flute. A random mix of items.
Tomorrow is a big day. Through a massive timetable failure, we have almost all the activities on the one day. Flute lessons, maths club, gymnastics and now swimming. If we’re getting eye rolls and sighing after a ‘normal’ day I can’t even imagine what we’ll cop tomorrow night.
But then she snuggles on my lap and lets me brush her hair. I might be sneakily looking for head lice (seriously – day one and we’ve already gotten the dreaded email), but she’s content to snuggle in as I run my fingers through her hair. It’s rare and I take it.
Bedtime is early. Eight o’clock. She tells me it’s too early for a ten year old, but the bags under her eyes tell me different. And after all the issues with sleeping last term, we need to make sure we’ve got the routine nailed.
Thankfully sleep comes easily tonight. Her tiny snores are regular and reassuring, her face relaxing into rest as she stumbles into her dream world. Her lashes always surprise me, long and delicate, resting on her cheek; right next to the ice-cream she still has smudged on her face.
I check, but I can’t find that email about swimming lessons; but I do find a birthday party invite that almost slipped through the cracks. I’ll take that as a win.
And it’s only day one.