Not where I should be. Not tucked up in bed, snoozing.
Not spooning my husband. Or counting sheep.
Nope, I’m on the kitchen floor, cleaning under the cooker. This will sound bonkers, until I explain that today, My Mum is Coming.
In the last hour I have:
1.re-painted part of the kitchen wall.
2. developed a comprehensive sorting system for my underwear. (Off-white, grey and less grey).
3. raided the fridge. (Less said about this the better, but anyway. When nervous or excited, I crave sugar. Fizzy Dinosaurs. Chocolate spread.If you listen closely you can hear the crunch of Frosties, wedged between the keys of my computer. But I’m drawing a line under this one – no-one is going to die because I ate too much ).
4. tried to finish a detective novel. (I gave up because the detective wasn’t very good. People kept dying and at three in the morning, that’s not conducive to mental health).
I’ve run out of food and household tasks. So now I’m thinking about why I feel stressed. This should have happened an hour ago, but at least the cutlery’s clean.
It’s hard to analyse your family isn’t it? When asked to describe them, the words get stuck. You end up saying things like, ‘she enjoys long walks and has brown hair’. What you want to say is, ‘she’s one of the most selfless women I know. She’s strong and silly and a mass of contradictions. She has an enormous heart but always puts herself down. She was her school IT coordinator but she doesn’t know how to turn on her computer. She uses a ridiculous amount of punctuation, especially exclamation marks. This means that ALL HER TEXT MESSAGES ARE SHOUTING!!!!!! Her comic timing is a thing of rare beauty. When she tells jokes, she gets overexcited and forgets the punch line. So she carries them with her in her handbag and invariably reads out the wrong one. She hates having nothing to do. Recently, she did a course on managing stocks and shares, despite not owning any. I could go on, but I can’t capture her with words.
My mum lives in Belfast, so I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like. I want her to be proud of me. I want her to trust in Jesus. Instead of looking after everyone else, I want her to actually rest. I want to tell her how much she means to me and I want to roll all those days we don’t get together into a blanket that I can spread before her. I want to tell her she’s great and apologise for all I’ve put her through. I want to keep her and hug her till neither of us can breathe.
So I’m cleaning. I’m making casserole. I’m writing the love I want to speak – in the laundered sheets and the extra pillows. The home-made biscuits. The sparkling taps. The squeeze on the shoulder. The boiling kettle. Because even if I could say it all, I don’t think I’d have the words.