Today No. 4 met me from school with a spring in his step and a “How are you, Mum?”
“Fine, thanks.” I smiled.
His thoughtful theme continued, “Did you have a good day?”
“It’s getting better … ” I laughed.
My boy’s line of questioning is a rare and wonderful thing, especially in these latter days of winter. Our Sunday was a sorry state of affairs with weary whinging, battlefields staked out on sofas, and dagger teeth bared above shields of cushions. Too many times our home slid into Meltdown Central.
And too many times did I slump with an ache for some summer sun (on the plus side, it pushed us into booking a holiday).
So when No. 4 asked me if I’d like to join him on a walk in the afternoon light, I hesitated just briefly, before chucking my conjured up to-do list in my brain’s trash can, and taking my son’s outstretched hand.
We didn’t go far, just up the road and back. We chatted about nothing in particular and everything else besides. No. 4 continued to take charge by assuming the role of chief photographer.
Clearly the colours of spring captivated him, but you might notice his particular penchant for mottled red leaves.
That was then, and this is now: siblings are returned from school, homework is spilling out of bags, sniping is resurfacing. Sly sideways kicks under the supper table are sparking screeches which pitch discordantly into the fray. My deleted to-do list fights for its space back in the forefront of my mind.
Imperfect family life strikes again, but I’m ever so glad I took No. 4’s hand while I had the chance. I sense the start of spring.