The alarm will go off at 6:05, but I’m awake at 5:30. Winter is coming, and it’s dark, much too dark for this! My two big little ones (5 & 4 years old) are stirring at the foot of my bed where they sleep. We are bunkered down upstairs in the spare room while mama and new-born baby try and get through the nights alone downstairs. Our (not my) daughter (12) begins her early morning shower routine, where she will shower for 35 minutes (10 minutes in her language) and leave a “puddle” the size of a small ocean on the bathroom floor. I will know she’s showered as I am hit by the wall of steam which approaches me as I walk down the steps, a good 4 metres from the bathroom. And if I fail to notice it then, or from the waft of strawberry showergel through the hallway, then my recognition will come at the latest when I attempt to wash the pots from last night and discover only tepid water coming from the tap for the next two hours.

The sleeping upstairs thing bothered me at first. We never did it like this before, but with 6 small mouths to feed, and a whole day to get through, sleep becomes EVERYTHING. You become a soldier. Physically I feel bad beyond words. My back hurts, my breathing is stifled and tight, my head could hurt soon. I haven’t got rid of the cold which began 3 weeks ago…and yet I know things will feel better in one hour. They do. They always do. I will have gone out to chop wood, lit a fire, fed the cats, removed the cat poo and cat sick from the places where I find it. I will have made breakfast for daughter number 1 of 3, had breakfast refused, taken said daughter down to the bus for 6:45, returned, found N & S (5 & 4) waiting in the kitchen without slippers or clothes, put the coffee on, cursed myself for needing it, and then sat down to see the dark blue, grey night clouds turn to light dark blue grey, and then to some semblance of morning….and then I will check my thoughts and feelings and begin my life as a father, lover, friend and musician again.

 

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