morning has broken (me)

Every (week) night I leave the house tidy, sorted, good to wake up to, calm to the point of Zen (ish) – my brand of Zen…  So it’s good to walk down the stairs to. My alarm goes off at 6.45, and then my second alarm goes off at 7.00, and all is well, a little shambolic, but well. But then ‘something’ happens, usually between 7.45 – 8.15am and everything goes tits up.

It starts like this, padding into A’s room, “Morning darling, wake up, *kiss*, it’s 7, you get in the shower first sweetheart”.

“Lil, where are you? – how long have you been up?  What are you watching? Take your headphones off.  *kiss, hug, kiss, hug* What do you want to eat?”

“Mum, hahahahaha look at your hair in the mirror LOOKING GOOD ANNNDDDD CRAY CRAY!” *makes little gangster move*

I don’t look in the mirror.  I know I look cray cray.  I make breakfast.  I make packed lunches, three of them.  I make tea for Lil and hot water with lemon for me.

“Amber, come on hon, I can’t hear you moving. It’s quarter past seven.”

I put the radio on.  I put last night’s dishes away. I make food. I hang some washing out and hope that nobody spies me in my oversized shirt, boots and horrific hair combo.  Lil abandons breakfast and goes hell for leather on the trampoline.  Whooping like a good ‘un.  She shouts me to join her.  Aforesaid shirt would make that a cause for arrest on the grounds of indecent exposure, but I am tempted. It might sort my barnet out.  I hang the last sock out.  I hate hanging socks out.  I feel a spot of water on my arm and it takes me a moment to realise that it’s rain. Rain?! It’s supposed to be hotter than the Bahamas, or somewhere.  I am not getting the washing in. Not no way.

“Amber, darling, it’s 7.30. I can’t hear you moving. COME ON! I want a shower.”

Lil is going nuts in the garden wearing a Superman t-shirt and leggings.  She’s gone a bit feral and is talking to next door’s chickens. I get her in.  She finishes her breakfast.  I search for the cat, oh god, where’s the cat? I shove Lil upstairs to get dressed.  I find the cat.  I eat my breakfast.  A song comes on the radio I love, I’ll add it to my playlist later.

“Amber. MOVE IT! You need to eat. You need to wash”

Lil comes downstairs dressed. “You cannot seriously be wearing that dress.  It’s FILTHY.” “It’s fine.” “It’s disgusting. Did you actually get it OUT of the wash basket? AMBER!!!!! GET DOWN HERE NOW” “Yep.” “You actually went in the wash basket and got it out again. Unbelievable. Get it off. Get something else on. AMBER! It’s quarter to eight. I’m getting a shower.”

I have a shower. I curse the humid weather, destroyer of curly hair. I sort my hair out.  I run upstairs.  I bump into A. IN HER JAMMIES! Towel in hand.  It’s 8am. She’s calm and ambling. I’m not.  I get dressed, a dress, I love this dress. I find a scarf. A scarf!  For office Air Con Wars that will begin later on.  Amber is in the shower. Lil is in her Superman garb again and the heels I want to wear with this dress. WTF?! She takes one look at my face – as thundery and dark as the burgeoning sky outside. She scarpers. I pack bags.  I do the breakfast dishes.  I shout at my first born.  I tell her I will NOT be driving her to school if she misses the bus.  I tell her how important breakfast is.  I hate the sound of my nagging voice, nag, nag, nag, but she drives me seven shades of crazy.  She bursts out the bathroom, the concept of time kicking into her 14 year old conscience.  We all bump into each other in the little kitchen.

“MUUUUUMMMMMMMM I’ve got no more school clothes, says Lil, just the dress you won’t let me wear”. This is not true. She runs outside. In my shoes.  To get socks off the line. Wet socks. She has socks in her drawer but they are not the ‘right’ socks.  She looks at my face again.  No words necessary.

Amber has lost her glasses.  ‘Someone’ has moved them.  Someone.  But not her.  No. Someone else.  She leaves, no goodbye, just a slammed door.  I hope she’s picked up her food.

I tackle Lil’s hair. It’s like Rapunzel’s. I run upstairs for my jacket. It’s new. It’s denim. Lil notices and makes a joke that I now have 40,000,000 denim jackets. It fits her.  She says she’s going to nick it.  I hear the front door slam.  It’s Amber back home. This is NOT good.  Her bus was early.  It was not her fault.  It was someone else’s fault that she missed the bus.  I pull everything that I have together.  Every bit of mum-restraint I contain, but I still sound like a strangled harridan reminding her of the whole hour I’ve been trying to get her up for. I hate my voice again.  I tell her that I am not driving her to school.  I know that of course I will drive her to school.  But she’s headed me off at the pass, she’s called her dad. I try and maintain my cool and my calm but it’s leaving the door before me.

“PE!! PE KIT!! Where is it???” Oh god.  “You have PE today?!” I actually want to cry.  I don’t know where the PE kit is.  Lil does.  I curse myself.  I know PE is on a Thursday.  We get in the car., with the PE kit.  There’s a silence for a minute while the mood is gauged.  “Did you sign my letter?” “What letter.” “Did you put your headphones back in your bag?” “I didn’t take my headphones out my bag.” “Oh, I did. Sorry. They’re in my room.” It’s not feasible to go to work with no headphones. Not possible. I turn the car round. I run back in the house.  “What letter.”  “It’s here in my bag.” I cast a glance at it, reversing, again, out into the road.  It needs to be in today.  I curse myself again.  “Be open, be open, be open.”  We get to school, run out of the car, the gate’s still open – a morning miracle. We kiss. We hug.  We say goodbye. I run past my friend, we exchange shitty morning stories as we dash to our respective jobs.  She makes me laugh. Her shitty morning involved a ladybird and a sausage dog, you really can’t make this stuff up.  I remember I’m manning a stall at the school fete at the weekend. I’m sure I’m supposed to be somewhere else too?  Shit, I know I’m supposed to be somewhere else. And I remember I’m supposed to be making cakes for tomorrow too.  Oh fuck.  And another mum shouts me that it’s mufti day tomorrow.  I love her.  I did not know it was mufti day.  I have nothing to make cakes with.  Agghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I get in my car and I close my eyes and I look at the clock, I’m already late.  Deep breaths. One, two, three.  And I fish out a CD that I’d forgotten how much I love.  And I play this song three times on the drive to work. Really loud.   And I remember that I mustn’t close my eyes for the beyond brilliant chorus, what with driving and all that.  I don’t care that I look like an absolute mentalist singing my head off, it makes me feel better.  It stops my heart from feeling like it’s going to beat its way out of my body.  I park and wait for the song to finish – you cannot switch off a song in the middle, not one this good, it’s the law.  I’m only ten minutes late.  I can get cake stuff at lunchtime.  I will hug Amber hard when I get home and bollock her too of course, and then hug her again and try and remember what it was like to be 14.  I will check Lil’s bag for letters, and I’ll take more notice of her crazy superhero and heels outfit. And maybe set another alarm for 6.30.


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