So it begins…my first solo stint in America. Jonathan has jetted off to the sunny climes of California for a conference, and we’re embracing crisp, cold Autumn in Illinois.
While it has only just begun, it does feel like he’s been gone longer than a day because this morning alone held the events of at least a week.
A little too frequently we struggle for hot water here, and so have to descend to the basement to do that fix-all ‘turn it on and off’ job on the water tank. This morning was one of those, and as I bent down to flick the switch, I caught sight of a dead mouse gazing up at me. The trap had snapped and it was caught by the neck. Yuk. As I’m wondering how best to dispose of our unwanted guest, I hear Rufus beginning to make his way down the stairs to come and ‘help with the problem, Mummy’. In my mind’s eye, I can see Billy scooting along the floor after his brother, soon to make it to the top of the stairs.
The mouse issue has to wait.
Usual morning affairs resume. Billy and I are navigating the daily chase to put his clothes on when I hear Rufus shouting from the other room.
“It’s poo on my hand”, he shouts with an understandable look of disgust. Billy is left to his own naked devices, and I rush Rufus to the bathroom. Mess dealt with, boy in bath and sofa checked for remnants, of which (thankfully) there are none.
By 9am, we have one dead mouse in a plastic bag, one outfit soaking in the sink and tepid water that might get hot soon.
The morning didn’t get much better with one boy’s flat refusal to get into the car to go to the supermarket being followed by both boys not wanting to sit next to each other in the trolley. The trip ended with me opening the boot to get the shopping and it tumbling out. Eggs broken, blueberries scattered and Billy sitting on the driveway while I frantically attempted to stem the flow.
But the day was saved by new friends. One for a scrambled eggs lunch, and another for a messy, but appreciated, tea. And opportunities to share life, and love help and company, amidst the frenetic chaos of such a day.
I’ve been praying that this ‘solo time’ wouldn’t just be about gritting my teeth and getting through it. While I find it tempting to try and ‘be fine’ and plough on, I know it’s better to show people vulnerabilities and let them in. Let them love, let them help, let them be my friends. It’s hard when relationships are still just beginning, but maybe those prayers will be answered. Today is just the beginning.