This is how it goes early on a Saturday morning with a sick child in the house: she's propped up in my bed on about four white pillows, big mug of tea in her hands, a plate of white toast with strawberry jam, yogurt, apricots (untouched). She's wearing a t-shirt with the Union Jack on it and the dog has her chin propped up on the edge of the bed gazing mournfully at both of us. GMA on Saturday morning is the kind of show you hope the space aliens aren't watching in order to get an insight into human behaviour. A seering piece of hard journalism -- $50,000 birthday parties for five year olds (given by caring, doting, facelifted parents in bad, expensive clothes); a Michigan farmer who got a dui on his tractor/mower; and the international incident sparked by Miss USA's fall on stage at the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico. Heady stuff. We were all in bed by 9:15pm last night. Noons is off to take his SAT 2s today. I hear him rise at 6:30pm. He showers, drinks a cup of honeyed tea I take him, is in an incredibly pleasant mood while sharpening his five pencils...and I wonder whether an earlier bedtime may do all of us some good. Daughter has been suffering with strep for nearly two weeks and now her lymph nodes are swollen so that she can hardly move her legs and she has a cold to boot. What is it about long drawn-out childhood illnesses that can make you temporarily panic? Especially the leg thing. My mind rushes through all the possibilities: muscle strain from riding, growing pains, flu=aching joints, yellow fever, paralysis.... (mounting panic ensues...)
J is away. If it's Saturday it has to be Baltimore. I get brief text messages prior to boarding planes. It's funny how your whole life flashes before your eyes just before you take off on planes.
This house is full of books. Every room apart from the dining room & kitchen, has a book shelf. I look wistfully at the shelves dreaming of the time when I might get to revisit some of my favorites. Yesterday Gabriel Garcia Marquez went back to Macondo (Aracataca) and so that book is staring at me, ready for another dip-in I think. And yet, and yet....my daughter would rather watch Kathy Griffin's D-List? "I will turn off the television if you watch this," I say, as sternly as I can muster, "this is mind-numbing, low-end b-s. This has no redeeming features." She rolls her eyes at me and very deliberately and very slowly changes the channel.