My Fingers Are Blue

Those were Orion’s first words this morning, when I opened his door at 6.30am to find him sitting up in bed, light on, book in hand, looking irritatingly perky.

“My fingers are blue.”

Yeah, well, it’s something crazy like 3 degrees outside, kid. I’m not surprised.

At this stage in Orion’s life, I’ve started to wonder if there’s any point asking him if he knows what time it is – because he does. He has a clock and he can read it. The darned thing even glows in the dark, and Orion is nine going on forty-nine. He knows absolutely what time it is, down to the last second.

He also knows he’s going back to school today and even though he’s found the last two weeks at home without Piper to be sheer, unadulterated torture, Orion’s jitters often present first in the form of an early morning reading session. Still, I’m supposed to be his parent, right? And, though I’m not proud to admit it, mornings make me crabby – especially cold ones. So I jabbed a finger at the blinding light, waved my hands in zombie-like frustration, then flipped the switch, plunging us both into the dark. Orion’s heartfelt sigh followed me all the way into the shower.

I really can’t complain about this kid. Sure, we all have our flaws, but he’s good people. He helps me make school lunches voluntarily, he doesn’t mind doing chores and odd jobs on request and often with a smile, will (mostly) provide hugs on request, has a strong sense of honour and a moral compass he wields like a sword. Sometimes I forget that he’s just a kid, because I can see a huge, complex, wonderful person behind his eyes when I look at him. Even when I wish he hadn’t inherited the early-morning gene (uh huh, Mum, I’m looking at you with my squinty eyes) I can’t actually gripe because he stays in his room and reads a book, not disturbing anyone until the agreed-upon 7am. I’ll never admit to that when it is early in the morning, though, because I’m unreasonable any time before Coco Pops O’clock.

Like I said, we all have our flaws.

Now he and Piper are both at school, bundled up in coats, scarves and beanies – after Orion grumbled about not having any gloves and then asked me to make him some (I don’t mind if they are knitted or crochet Mummy, really, it’s your choice) – and I’m here at the kitchen table, sitting in the sunlight with my cup of tea, alone except for River. For the first time in months, I have complete silence, time and space to work and a moment to breathe. And… as stressful as the home schooling period has been, I know there’s a part of me that will miss having their smiling faces and ready affection (or, in Piper’s case, cupboard love) around all the time. That same part of me is already looking at the calendar and counting the days until the school holidays, when we swap early wake-ups for arguments about wearing our pyjamas all day.

Grass is always greener and all that, I guess.

Happy frostbitten Tuesday, everyone!

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