Mine, all mine

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 Friday back in May, and it is just past two o’clock.

I am sitting in the teal swivel chair in our lounge room, bathed in the warm sunlight streaming through the front window. There is a dog barking in the distance, and every half minute or so, I can hear a vehicle driving past.

I am wearing my grey woollen pants, and my dark blue sweater. Despite the sunlight, it has been cool today, and later, it will get cooler still.

Inside the house, all is quiet. Lewis is asleep in his cocoon in the play room, and Rick has just left to pick up the four boys from preschool and school.

From where I sit, I spy glimpses of our front yard—slightly dishevelled but still presentable if one doesn’t look too closely.

In the bright sunlight, it’s obvious that all our windows are dirty, but for some inexplicable reason, this does not bother me in the least.

I feel the urge to write—to tap away at my laptop—but I decide to just be.

In thirty minutes’ time, Lewis will be hungry again.

In forty-five minutes’ time, all the other boys will be home.

In an hour’s time, my parents will have arrived.

But for now, this quiet, this stillness, is mine.

All mine.

* * *

I want to remember the blur of this past week.

I want to remember the despair I felt when I realised that both Lewis and I had caught the cold that was being passed around our family.

I want to remember waking up at 4am with a sore throat and stumbling down the stairs to gargle my throat with salt water.

I want to remember how I stuffed myself with garlic tablets.

I want to remember Lewis making snuffly noises at night.

I want to remember being woken up every hour or so (or more).

I want to remember taking it in turns, with Rick, to hold our baby boy.

I want to remember the exhaustion—the sheer, utter exhaustion.

I want to remember feeling like I couldn’t possibly make it through another day.

I want to remember watching day become night and night become day again through the bleariest of eyes.

I want to remember how Rick and I relied on each other to get through each day.

I want to remember all this because this, too, is a part of our…