Little did I know…

The Shoemaker's Daughter. A memoir of days, both past and present, by Rhonda Mason.The Shoemaker's Daughter. A memoir of days, both past and present, by Rhonda Mason.The Shoemaker's Daughter. A memoir of days, both past and present, by Rhonda Mason.

It is a Wednesday back in June.

Rick leaves with the three older boys at twenty to nine. Bear and I stand side by side in the doorway of the mud room and see them off, as we always do.

“Bye boys, love you all very much! Have a good day!” I say.

“Bye boys! Have a good day!” says Bear, in gorgeous little voice.

“Bye!” comes the chorus of voices from the big car.

Bear and I retreat back into the playroom. He continues his play with the blocks, and I head straight into the kitchen to wash up.

As the Disco pulls up the driveway, Bear rushes to the patio doors.

“Bye dada! Bye dada!” He is clearly upset that daddy is not responding.

“Darling, you already said bye to daddy, remember? You said bye to him in the garage!”

“But me want to say bye again!”

For a moment, I worry that I won’t be able to console him, but before I know it, he returns to his blocks.

I continue with the dishes and wonder how much time I have before Lewis wakes up again for his next bottle. At most, I give myself fifteen minutes. I finish cleaning the crockery and the cutlery as quickly as I can, then move onto Lewis’ bottles. Finally, I put the kettle on and rinse the teats, bottles, and lids with boiling water.

Out in the play room, I can hear Bear chatting happily away to himself.

When I finally emerge from the kitchen, the little guy shows me what he’s been working on: a robot with legs so long that it’s almost as tall as him!

I am thoroughly impressed and tell him so. He beams at me and seems mightily pleased with himself.

While Bear continues to busy himself with the blocks, I pop into my cubby and organise my tasks for the day.

At half past, we put Play School on. I start to make myself a coffee and shortly after, I can hear Lewis crying. I prep a bottle, finish making the coffee, then dart upstairs. I quickly change out of my pyjamas and into my olive work pants and my flax linen tee over a grey knit top.

I bring the little boy downstairs, and while I feed him, Bear builds a cubby house using the little white table, cushions, and the white polar fleece blanket.

Once Lewis is fed and burped, I tell Bear to fetch Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes from the bookshelf. The three of us read this together on the playroom couch, and then I read the bible out loud and pray.

At half past ten, Lewis goes back down for a nap in his cot.

While Lewis sleeps, Bear and I keep ourselves busy.

First we bring our ‘guns’ (made from blocks) into the lounge room. Bear declares that I am the baddie and that he needs to catch me. I try to hide behind the cream couch. He finds me almost immediately and puts me in ‘jail’ on the black Kafka chair.

It’s then his turn to hide. He ducks under the dining table, and I pretend to not see him. He giggles and giggles.

Together, we start looking at the 2011 life album. He’s enthralled for a little while, but then decides that he’s not a fan of the album because he’s not in it. (His exact words being, “Me hate this.”)

So we look at the 2013 album. He’s much happier about this because there are heaps and heaps of photos of him.

We head back to the play room to play with blocks. We end up making multi-coloured lollipops using the blocks, which we sell (and eat) at our pretend shop.

Even though it is just on eleven o’clock, I start to feel hungry so I suggest that we have an early lunch. I figure that if I can manage to feed the two of us before Lewis wakes up, then I can be more relaxed leading up to Bear’s quiet time.

I make a peanut butter wrap for Bear (“Me help you, mummy?”) and boil eggs for both of us. I then set about cooking tomato and garlic pasta for myself.

It’s so lovely to have all this one-on-one time together, and even lovelier to be enjoying lunch together on such a beautiful day. We smile guiltily at each other across the table.

Shortly after twelve, I hear Lewis’ cries drifting down from upstairs. I tell Bear that I’m going up to fetch his little brother, and he insists on coming with me.

“You can stay down here, you know. You’ll be very safe here!”

“No, me ‘cared. Me come with you, okay?”

“Of course, darling.”

I go on ahead of him but when I reach the top of the stairs, he asks me to hold hands with him, and so I do.

We walk along the corridor together, darting cheeky grins at each other.

We peep over the cot together and we both smile widely at Lewis. The little boy quietens down slightly when he sees us.

We bring him downstairs and I feed him again on the grey couch.

Meanwhile, I encourage/coerce Bear into tidying up the room.

Later, I put Lewis in the bouncer with his legs out. He looks at the two of us and gives us the most adorable of grins.

Just after 1pm, Bear suggests that he and I have a race with the two Hot Wheels that he’s holding. I happily oblige, and for the next ten minutes or so, we send the Hot Wheels back and forth on the rug. He has a blast doing this, and I regret not doing this with him more often.

Before quiet time, we share a muesli bar each. I also pour him a cup of apple juice.

At quarter past one, we race each other upstairs. He goes down without protest and falls asleep almost immediately.

Lewis and I then spend some one-on-one time together in the bedroom before he has a nap as well.

Such a normal day. Such a beautiful day.

Forever, I’ll be grateful that I took the time to slow down and be present with Bear and Lewis on this particular Wednesday.

Because little did I know what the next week would bring…

  • Anita guldbrandt said:

    Cliffhanger I love your writing - you have a Way with words. You Always inspire me to do better with my journaling.

    • Rhonda Mason said:

      Thank you for your kind words, Anita. Appreciate you reading here.
      Ronnie xo