Imagine if you had to give up your life for one day and hand it over to someone else. What would you tell them? What advice/instruction would you provide to get through the day?
I'm taking part in a writing workshop this week. It's both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I could sit and listen to my classmates stories for hours but my stomach churns when it's my turn to share. This morning there was a sentence written up on the whiteboard, "off you go" said the teacher, "you've got fifteen minutes. What would you tell them?"
If you're going to be me tomorrow, you'll need to know the following....
When you wake up, your ankle is going to hurt, don't move it too quickly, just try to slowly rotate it, of course this is going to be hard as the beagle is laying on top of it. Your first words will be “off” and they should solve your beagle problem, but the other feeling of pressure, the weight on your arm, that's your seven year old son, just roll him carefully towards your husband.
Your husband will be awake, he's been up for hours, he'll be working or reading the newspaper and he'll glance at the seven year old, then at you and he'll give you that familiar look. He's thinking how did this happen, he's wondering if he'll ever wake up with you on his own again. He's experiencing a different morning, he's mourning. He's thinking of a time gone by, a time where the bed was just yours, where mornings weren't just mornings but possibilities and opportunities.
Don't bother closing the door while you shower, there will be a constant stream of traffic.
“Did you sign my consent form?”
“I need 15 riyals.”
“Can you put the toothpaste on my toothbrush? I can't get it out.”
“Can we buy Annika a 'best friends' necklace...... can we go now?”
Someone will be tired, someone will be excited, someone will be fragile, pay close attention, if you can read the signs early, your drive to school is going to be so much more enjoyable.
You will scan the wardrobe, flicking through the shirts and pants, asking yourself what will keep you cool in the 48 degree heat. Let me save you some time. The answer is NOTHING. Just don't put those red shoes on, they're the reason your ankle hurts, and don't forget to pack a scarf or a cardigan, when you're not roasting in the car park you'll be freezing in the supermarket.
When you've reached the school hallway, just lean forward low enough for Mr 7 to be in control of the kiss goodbye, he needs to be the one to put the kiss on your cheek, especially in front of his mates. Please take a photo of everyone kissing the youngest little traveler goodbye as they pack away his lunch box in his cubby, I keep meaning to take a picture as I know it will end soon, and I'll forget how they did that for him. How they all mothered him. Make eye contact with Ms 11, no kisses, but she still wants a pinkie swear or a rub on the arm, whatever you do, don't offer to walk her down to the classroom but make sure there is eye contact.
Miss 8 will take your hand, sigh dramatically as if it's been a busy morning and say "Finally, just the two of us". When you walk to the door of her classroom there has to be a kiss and a hug, it has to be a kiss on the lips, it has to be a long hug. She will settle for nothing less. She'll remind you to look at the clock at 11.30, "remember Mum, 11.30" and you will promise "yes, 11.30, we'll both look at our clocks at exactly 11.30 and think of each other".
As you make your way out of the school, start checking your list of what needs to be done, it will stop you from thinking about how quiet it is, it will stop that familiar feeling, the confusion of missing them. Only 10 minutes ago you were telling them to hurry, to not forget their backpacks, wipe the toast from their chins and don't forget to close the door.
When you get back to your car you will find at least one door open, there will be a backpack on the back seat.
What would your message say? If someone else had to be you, what would they need to know? Feel free to take it as a blog post idea.