Last Monday my youngest who has dyslexia came home from school and as usual sat down to begin her homework.
“Mum, don’t forget to sign my tests”, she says.
“No problem darling”, I say, “how did you get on?”.
“Well Mom, I think it was an all time low”, she replies, in a tone which clearly shows she is not too bothered.
“Two out of ten, in Irish spelling, all wrong in grammar, and 1 out of ten in English spellings” she says.
“Yikes, not great sweetheart”, I reply.
My middle daughter, aged sixteen, was listening.
“Mom, standards are slipping here, is that all you have to say?”.
To those who do not follow my blog, I have been missing in action over the past few weeks. I was looking after my young warrior friend aged thirteen years. He was very sick and sadly moved on to new adventures less than two weeks ago.
As a result I am not exactly functioning as the greatest mother in the world.
What could I say to my older daughter?
Could I tell her that in fact I didn’t give a damn.
Could I tell her that a few spellings being wrong, written by a child who will never know her spellings, was something which did not matter.
Could I tell her “I don’t care”.
In fact since the funeral this is my constant thought about almost everything.
“What’s for dinner?”
I have no idea, leave me alone, I couldn’t care less, I think to myself.
“Have you all your shopping done for Christmas?”
No, I’ve barely started, and I don’t care if I never shop again.
“Do I have to wear my coat to school?”.
What are you asking me for? I couldn’t care less.
Life goes on as it always has. Everyday needs have to be attended to.
However the busyness of this time of year is in stark contrast to how I feel.
I am at a standstill, lost in the memories of the last few weeks.
The roller coaster of his last weeks in hospital. Every day waiting for an update. Was he okay? Would he live? Was there any chance of his recovery?
Running in tandem with these memories I remember this time last year, when we had just heard the news of his leukemia. When we were in shock and sick with worry. When our worry was all about him losing his hair and feeling sick. When we dared not, even for a moment, believe he would die.
As I sit and correct my daughters homework and sign her tests,
my mind wanders once more.
I relive his journey home and those two last wonderful, but painfully short, days he got to spend there. After five months away he had got his final wish.
As I look at my two happy daughters I imagine my friends pain.
I still have four children, she has four minus one. Her beautiful young son is gone forever.
We can no longer imagine or hope for his recovery. This is her ever after.
I turn to her and say “What does it matter?”.
She looks at me and says, “Well it certainly mattered when I was her age”.
As she stomps away I whisper to myself, “That was before”.
What does homework, shopping or anything else matter?
My world has shrunk. It is now just my husband, children, and myself.
As long as four remains four, I really don’t care about anything else.