The days are busy; the evenings too. Not with big, important tasks; just the minutiae of daily life… . bread to bake, clothes to lavender, meals to prepare, groceries to buy, dishes to wash, feet to scrub, vases to fill, socks to find, hair to brush, a friend to visit, a neighbour to chat to, a letter to write, an email to send, a text to answer, and phone calls to make and to receive….
My mother is improving and gaining strength. She will return home soon, we hope. Her progress is good. I phone her once, sometimes twice, a day. A hospital is a busy place. Our conversations are brief.
But I grab a moment of the call, to talk to my brother or my sister; whoever happens to be with our mother when I phone. They are tired. I hear it in their voices. Whilst one sibling is at the hospital, the other cares for the house and my father. Care responsibilities are 24 hours.
Later, when it is 1 in the morning here, I may phone my sister again. It will be 10pm in Cairns. We discuss the day’s events. I am yawning and, suddenly, my sister switches from talking about hospital matters to something about ‘hammering nails’. I am silent for a while, wondering what this means. My sister is silent, too, for a moment. Then she laughs and asks, “What did I just say?” “Something about nails,” I reply. She laughs again; her great,big, only-my-sister-can-laugh-this-way, laugh. “I fell asleep. I was talking in my sleep,” she says. A short while later, it happens again. We hang up before our words become any more incomprehensible 🙂
There are other calls to make at other times. To friends; to my aunt, in a rest home, to let her know that her sister is okay; to my uncle and my aunt who are moving to their retirement home. To others we Skype. My father likes to Skype chat. He types well and knows how to use those emoticons 😀
Thus are the smallnesses that occupy my days; that keep my fingers flying, my voice activated, and my brain engaged (mostly).
But there are other smallnesses that rest my body and mind; that communicate by ancient paths and provide calm and continuity,
and call forth joy every morning.