The quiet of quality time

All too soon, it passes, and the house is quiet again.


Mixture of household things, like eye tests (both myopics have worsened, necessitating glasses all the time now for the mite who can’t be bothered to keep them on, and new lenses for Blake, while the middle one continues to astound with 6/5 vision [“Yes Conrad, you see better than glasses!”] albeit with marginal longsightedness. He has always reminded me of child Superman from the movie somehow, with that curl of hair on his forehead; how he has managed to retain that acuity I honestly don’t know, but I am very grateful).


Two fun noisy old-friend-filled birthday parties for the younger ones. Leaving Blake’s heart aching for his two best friends – one from HH, one from Cothill – doing his best to keep his chin up and accept the inherent “unfairness” that they weren’t free to spend time with him this Exeat, while he watched his younger brother’s old bestie jump up and down in unbearable excitement that Conrad was having a sleepover on Sat.

A hard lesson about life. But – bless him – he took it.

Such are the little and many ways in which a mother’s heart watches and rides along with her child. It is my practice to offer no promises for the future to sweeten the pill, for who knows what the future may bring…and more imptly, dwelling in discomfort means understanding from the inside – the only way – that it is what it is.

Does it hurt? Yes. All kinds of yes. But they are built stronger this way. I know it, because I can see it now; how they issue forth from solidity, a flavour different from many of their peers.

And so we build on.

I take him, and give him our moments, one on one. While waiting out one party I catch up on breakfast late, stealing glances at him, absorbed in his book, sipping his orange juice. We exchange little quips and courtesies, in the love language that the two of us speak to each other. It sounds like perfectly ordinary English, which it is. Just that its content and character are replete with memories and running in-jokes that we make and keep alive. There was never really any doubt about what I was going to make for dinner that night; favourites are favourites.

His brother QCs as he practices the poem he has to learn by heart, for some recitation thingamajig his level was doing.

“Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine…”

What a lovely poem, to read as much as to recite. New to me. He works on it, and nails it word for word. But then I tell him he’s not reading the news. Again: “Quinquireme of Nineveh” – we relish their music, the regular cadence of the hypnotic verses leading to the seeming anticlimax of the “dirty British coaster…/Butting through the Channel.” Ah, Blake. Beware of judging a book by its cover. By “pig-lead” and “road-rail” the distinctly unglamorous seeds of an empire are sown.

Coda: the view I woke up to on Monday, the day of their return. Love looks back on love.



All too soon, it passes, and the house is quiet again. 

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