My husband said: “Is this all a huge mistake? Are you sure you still love me?” “Is what a mistake?” “The move, all this. The three moves,” he gestured to the cardboard boxes of who knows what, toys spread across the floor, black plastic ragged sacks of sometime never to be worn again clothes. “Too late now,” I said. “We’re here. We’ll sort it out. It might take a while.” I do not know when my husband asks me this if he needs to hear that all is well. How he would feel if I raised a hand, said: “No, stop the wagons. Turn back. I’ve been far enough away from city life for long enough. This prairie adventuring is not what I was looking for. Too many cactii for a start. Pa, let us return to what we know.”
Change brings chaos with it. How do other people cope? Are we more chaotic then than most? Or is this family life? Constant friends constantly reproach me for the chaos. We have moved. Again. We still have builders. It is like living two centuries ago with Uncles Joe and Nicholas and Benjamin, and cousin Nathan(he’s a little slow, lives out in the barn but harmless. Providing you are not a chicken. Chicken necks, he wrings). You walk along the landing and see a bearded head. Old Testament but without a bloody, silvered platter. The decorator is painting the upstairs window frame. You reproach a child for breaking eggs into a box of his books; a door opens and a builder slides through on his way to fetch the sugar or a hammer. He says: “The Lord cometh” or sometimes: “The skip is in the wrong place. I told them not to put it there. ”
We have three children. Three children’s toys and clothes and washing. Three children’s crayoned loose leaf paper and favourite plastic bowls and cups. Three children’s legs to wrap around you, pin you down, stop you from standing up and tidying away. How do others manage? I do not know. I cannot say. I find it helps to cross my eyes. A glass of wine helps too at night and work. Work can divert nicely for an hour or two. Never long enough. And occasionally I rage and scream. A psycho mother for a while. All of these I recommend, except possibly, the last.