We got up, got dressed and breakfasted. Got to school on time, LF went in and I walked home. Went to Waitrose. Came back to find the bin men had refused our grass clippings and left them on the drive. Loaded them into the van so I could get past them, thinking I'd take them to the tip late. Remembered I can't get this bus into the tip any more; left them festering in the van in the heat of the day. Ate lunch. Pottered happily. Went to fetch Little Fish. Walked home, slowly. Had lots and lots of cuddles and a meltdown about birds outside and flies inside (her not me, But I might start joining in if she doesn't get over it soon). We called Mog, had the low down on her day but didn't speak to her as she was lying in bed under a tree in the garden. Had tea. Little Fish went to bed.
Another boringly normal day.
Mog doesn't do very much, if you look at her as an outsider. She sits. Or lies. And coos and moans and twitches. But as an insider, she brings so much to our family. Little Fish turns to her, repeats everything I say to her, insists on her having a particular spot in the sitting room and appoints herself overseer of all care requirements. And Mog is silently, wordlessly, sarcastic about her bossy little sister.
Little Fish drops a crayon, Mog twitches, and I get up to pick up the crayon and put Mog's arm back on her lap. Small busyness.
I laugh at something, Mog smiles. She laughs, we all laugh. I get cross with double glazing salesmen; Mog stiffens in her chair. I relax, she calms herself down. She gets worked up, I rock her; the curves in her body fit the more padded curves of my own, her twists and turns notch themselves around my hip. Lounging around on a settee or a bed, my bent knee prevents her leg from flopping inward, her head nestles under my chin; she fit there when she was five months old and she fits there still, nearly eight. We have grown together (her upwards, me outwards). She is my shadow, we are each other's echoes.
And she is not here. Twelve hours; one peaceful night and then a few hours hustle and bustle, and then we will be together again. These breaks are necessary. She gets to lounge around in a bed which has been pulled out under an enormous tree. I get to store overheated grass clippings in my van, go shopping with both hands on the trolley, sit through the day not jumping every time the phone rings assuming it'll be school, and sleep all night without jumping up for non-existent alarms. Little Fish gets to stay at school, to pootle home slowly instead of racing the bus, to have a nice calm unhurried morning without me dropping syringes all over the floor in the race to get everything done and write in the homeschool books first. She gets to have the option of going to the park, although she chooses instead to hurry home and phone Mog's carer. It is good for all three of us. But better will be tomorrow, when my shadow and I are sewn together again.