It’s the same almost every single weekday morning; at exactly 6am I get a peck on the cheek and a see you later as he leaves for work. I pour my second cup of coffee and cut cheese for a sandwich, select a piece of fruit and take a bottle of water from the fridge. These things I place inside a green canvas lunch bag.
At twenty-five past six, I tentatively go into her bedroom. What will I find today? A sleep-crumpled cherub, who will let me snuggle for a minute and shower her cheek with loud kisses? No, more likely a grumpy gargoyle sprouting horns, who will spit and hiss like a little devil cat in protest at being woken. I do the deed quickly and flee back to the kitchen to fix Jungle Oats.
Then begins the true horror.
Where is my Alice Band, Mom?
I don’t know, where did you take it off yesterday?
Where are my shoes, Mom?
I don’t know, I haven’t worn them in ages.
Very funny Mom!
No matter how many times I suggest she prepares the night before, there is always one item she can’t find. Somehow I get the blame for this and there is much scurry and fuss and bad temper and we are almost late for school.
There, just as I am about to tell her that I won’t fetch her, that she can go home with someone else; she redeems herself and I am giving a fierce hug and those incomparable words. I love you Mommy.
She’s going to be thirteen next year. I think I’ll hang a garlic clove above her doorway and give her an alarm clock. I’ll take up with a jogging group who run at 6.15 and the wicked child can get herself sorted in the mornings.