I am exhausted. And it’s only 7:15. AM.
Trying to convince two small children to get out of their warm beds and go to school while it’s cold and still dark outside is not a fun chore. I try to make the screaming one’s mind off the fact that she has to go to school by telling her that tomorrow, the car that has been broken will be back. It backfires terrifically as I open the front door and instead of one, now have two screaming children: one because said car is not outside the door right now and the other because he has decided that he likes being driven around in the diesel-guzzling bakkie more. I give up trying to get them to pipe down and instead bundle them into the bakkie before they wake the neighbours.
As I leave the school grounds and head to work, I can’t help but feel a sense of relief. I have been back in full-time employment for six weeks. It has been a tough six weeks and a major adjustment for the whole family. At least the children had been going to school for full days since the beginning of the year so they have not had to adapt to that, but I could see how their behaviour changed in the first few days – I was no longer picking them up from school and immediately spending time with them anymore. Instead, I brought them home, and then still had to try and do all the things I normally did while they were at school, while trying to get them cleaned, fed and in bed on time. But I think we have found our new rhythm now. Apart from the mornings, things are getting easier.
The adaptation to being busy working on things that are not my things for 8 hours of every day has been a shock to the system to say the least. It took me a while to wrap my head around it all and get back into the swing of things. It didn’t help that within the first week a truck took a gap in the traffic that in fact happened to be my car and by week three I had bronchitis and was forced to take two sick days. Now I am not one of those “iron women”, those brave women who just trundle through sickness pretending it’s not that bad. When I get sick, I feel pretty sorry for myself. I don’t do well on sleep deprivation and when I don’t sleep and get tense and headache-y, I am pretty useless to the world.
None of this was helped by the fact that this job has brought me into contact with people from another phase of my life – a much earlier phase. This in itself was not bad (neither were the people, or that particular phase of my life), it was just when I started counting the years since last having seen these people and it turned out to be more than a decade I just felt that life was passing me by. I have tried many things in the past two years. Tried and failed at, it would seem. I feel like I am back where I started, only older and with fewer days left to try again.
But then a little birdie taught me something. I was taking a walk, trying to clear my head when I saw it: a beautiful little double-collared sunbird, in the crisp winter sunshine, singing his little heart out to anyone who would listen. Or not? I felt pretty special that it would share it’s cheerful song with me when it occurred to me that he didn’t care whether or not I was listening. Whether anyone was listening, really. He was a sunbird and he had a song to sing. Whether anyone was there to hear him was irrelevant – he would be singing regardless.
And so, here I am. Getting up. Keeping on keeping on. Singing to my own private tune, regardless of whether anyone is listening. Because I am not dead yet.