Today began at a civilised hour - there was a 7 on the clock - which is amazing given that in the last week we've said goodbye to daylight savings and hello to big girl beds. Not that it mattered as I had visits from all three of my girls in the night, so it was a broken one to say the least. Wednesday is a preschool day so there are three girls to wrangle into slippers and dressing gowns, three to negotiate breakfast with, three to talk into clothing and shoes, three lunches to pack and three little lunches (but only one crunch'n'sip). Three backpacks with three changes of clothes. Three hats in case the sun comes out, three jackets in case it gets cold - and you can guarantee both will be required. Three drink bottles to find and fill. Three heads of unruly wild curls to brush. Three hairstyles to discuss and action.
In amidst it all I try to make myself barely presentable with a quick shower, clean clothes, a smooshing of moisturiser and some mascara to make my pale, pale lashes look less translucent. A cup of tea if I'm lucky. Breakfast very occasionally. Today I tried to get clever and put a pot of milk on to heat thinking I could get some yoghurt happening. I watched the thermometer between wiping down tables and wiping down noses. It hit 90 and I turned off the flame and walked away to shout some orders.
I filled the car with girls and bags and made the trip into town to preschool, leaving one kid in tears and another on the verge, racing away before it all became a flood. I hit the road to Goulburn for a last-minute catch-up with a lovely Canberra friend. It was a window before I was tied down with school holidays and before she gave birth to her second baby, and we grabbed it to sit in the sun and drink coffee and talk. I ignored my massive to-do list and the fact it was the last day in three weeks with all my children out of the house, and just sank into all the loveliness that comes from time with good friends.
On the return trip, I remembered the milk on the stove.
I picked up my pair, their cuddles and love making everything that's ever happened anywhere to anyone completely worthwhile. We drove on to collect their big sister from school, and beamed with golden sunshiney pride as she showed off the award she won at assembly "for being a focused and hardworking student." Bless.
We raced home to change some shoes and throw crackers and bananas in a bag (and tip two litres of sour milk down the drain) and raced out for soccer training. I scrambled for cash to buy the requisite socks and shorts in time for this Saturday's inaugural match. Little sisters got bored and started clawing at each other. There was screaming. The sun got lower and the temperature dropped. We finally returned home and shovelled easy food into little faces while I prepared and cooked a couple of recipes that have to be photographed tomorrow. Babes were bathed. Dishes were washed (in the sink, of all places - our dishwasher is on the blink). Stories were read and lullabies sung.
I look at the to-do list which isn't shrinking. I try to ignore the overflowing washing basket, the crumbs under the table, the ring around the bathtub. I think how lovely it would be for one of these weeks to chance along and I wonder how it's all going to come together. But at this time of night, when my girls are sleeping and all is quiet, I look at an award taking pride of place on the fridge door. I catch a glimpse of a messy scrawl of preschool paint on a piece of cardboard and notice the row of Ps across the top. P for Pearl. I remember the loveliness of sitting in the sun enjoying uninterrupted conversation. I thank God that every day isn't Wednesday. And I know it will be OK.