This morning I walked

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This morning I walked my littlest to nursery school. He desperately wanted to walk, not catch a ride with Kevin. The walk seems to be a critical feature of his transition from home to school. I walk him to the bus every other day, and Kevin usually walks him to nursery school (today he was off to Toronto for work, and couldn’t spare the time). I could see how important it was to CJ that he walk, not drive.

So I said, hey, I’ll walk you to nursery school today.

On our walks, we play a game that CJ makes up on the fly. Today we were making juice out of foods of a certain colour, say, red, or blue. “Blueberry juice! What else is blue?” I’m pretty sure the juice gave us special crocodile-fighting powers. Or maybe it was leaf-fighting powers. Fallen leaves feature pretty regularly in these games as objects that must be avoided or danced over (he has a special sideways zig-zag to defeat the leaf powers).

This morning I was glad to feel willing to relax into the moment. To walk my son to nursery school.

Yesterday, by contrast, I was completely miserably resistant to the demands of the day. It felt like a day designed to thwart any sense of autonomy and independence. A long list of must-does barked at me all day long, and I raced to keep up, and barely managed. Dentist appointment, groceries, bank, voting, piano lessons, cooking, laundry, dishes, cleaning, dog walking, putting children to bed. I didn’t have a moment to spare in front of this computer. I resented it.

I wonder: is it okay to resent days that are clearly brimming with privilege and wealth and health and opportunity? Is it okay to resent being able to care for my family and my teeth and my house? When such a day is evidence of a full life rich with fortunate responsibilities? I don’t know whether or not it’s okay. Maybe it’s pointless to judge an emotion.

I guess it just means I’m human.

But the day did improve post-dentist. And by the time I was walking our yappy dogs around the block with two chatty children in tow, I was pretty much okay with it all. The house was clean. There was still time to read to them before bed. We’ve finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and are moving on to Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, one of my personal favourites.

(During this reading, I’ve been trying to figure out why Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has had such success and longevity. It’s quite awkwardly written in parts, and has these long rather boring songs, and Willy Wonka is a strange and scary man with peculiar prejudices against things like gum-chewing, and the way he stole the Oompa-Loompas from their own land and brought them to work in his factory makes me deeply uncomfortable. And yet. My theory is that it’s the unromantic sympathy and clarity of the opening chapters, and Charlie himself, which save the book.)

I’m going to write for the rest of the day: the quiet hours that belong just to me. I’m not going to worry about writing a perfect book. No books are perfect. I’m going to follow my own advice and write in order to discover what I’m writing.

And then I’ve got supper, laundry, a kid with swim training, another with soccer skills, a visit to a book club, and a party in Toronto: Anansi’s 45th birthday bash. Wow, hey. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming …

Reading at IFOA for the GGs
Come see me at Chapters today, starting at 11am

4 Comments

  1. Is that last paragraph all today? Yikes.

    I am with you on the questions about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In fact, all of Dahl’s books kind of give me the creeps, and not in a good way.

    As for yesterday, I wonder if a certain amount of pathetic fallacy was part of the day too. I like rain but it was awfully gloomy, warm and heavy all day yesterday. I think it may have been hard to feel perky no matter what was on the agenda.

    Reply
    • Yes, Susan. All today.

      And there was something about that weather … I almost cancelled the dentist appointment, then thought, this is the perfect day for it — it’s already gloomy!

      Reply
  2. I think there’s something about the scariness and the bizarre cruelty that makes C&tCF highly compelling for children — at least, I remember having a horrified fascination! Not to mention all the great candy innovations. My favourite is still the three-course meal chewing gum, which I really wish somebody would hurry up and invent, minus the blueberry pie boo-boo.

    Reply
    • My kids were not in the least bit traumatized by the descriptions of the horrible things that happened to the other children. And candy innovations do go a long way with that crowd!

      Reply

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