Sunday, November 6, 2016

Flying Solo

If you see a woman running in the street it’s probably me. 

There’s always somewhere I’m supposed to be, usually ten minutes ago, and I’m always in a rush to get there. Looking on the bright side, I think: It’s good that I’m always running TO somewhere, rather than running AWAY. 

A woman I know who lives in my neighbourhood, she has six children and she’s always running too. She says it’s a fitness thing, (unlike me she has activewear on), but every time I see her I can’t help thinking that she’s running AWAY. As fast as she can. 

Perhaps that's what happens when you reach the critical mass of too many children and responsibilities - when you realise there’s just no possible way you can meet every deadline, obligation or expectation - you just start running and keep running, and don’t stop.
It’s usually when my husband goes away that crazy things happen - I find nits in the kid’s hair, Tom lands a job with a 5am call time, the dog escapes, my car gets stolen, my toddler comes out in spots, my father falls over, I get asked onto television, or the hospital phones to tell me they want to take Charlotte’s tonsils out - tomorrow.

Before you know it, I’m running. Hauling the recycling bin up the driveway before dawn, carrying a warm sleeping child to the car after dark, running up and down the stairs in between turning schnitzels and managing print jobs. Thanking neighbours and friends for the help they give me every time I think that life surely can’t get any crazier.

I run, and I keep on running until I wear holes in my shoes and there’s no time to think about the holes until it rains and my feet get wet.

I run, and I keep on running until I’m forced to sit still and be amazed. My youngest is counting out loud along with me as we read a bedtime story, his addition to the family still comes as a surprise. My eldest is lit up on the stage of the Opera House, filling my heart with so much pride I think it might burst. My daughter is so pale and beautiful, honey coloured hair sprawled across the white hospital sheets, fingers stained with ink from drawing. My father’s feeble attempts to stand and reach his wheelchair, simple things like running, forever out of reach.

Would love to hear in the comments if you feel like you're running to something, or away. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference...

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