Monday, June 7, 2010

Who can be bothered?

Who can be bothered?

Weeds are taking over the garden. We've got the henhouse but failed to buy chickens, the pear tree's still buggy and the almond needs a prune. The snails ate all the veggie seedlings, and we'll have nothing out of the garden this month except celery.

It's rained for five days and the upstairs bathroom is awash from the leaking roof. We've rearranged our dining room to fit the clothes horses in front of the heater; just because I can't get their clothes dry, my kids don't stop playing in mud.

I'm fed up with nappies and have finally switched to disposables, six and a half years after having our first child. Though they're riddled with holes, the cloth nappies wink at me and I still feel guilty.

'Read story mama,' says my little one, and I'm bored bored bored with cuddly puppy and pudgy piglet and the other ghastly books we've been given. I recite Goodnight Moon from memory instead, even as most of me plans dinner.

There's genocide and gendercide and drought and corruption and viciousness and bombs and oil slicks out there. The world is going to hell in a hand basket and there's nothing I can do. I can't think of a thing to write, and am slumped into myself.

'Go to the gym,' whispers the little voice. I hate the gym. It's shallow and undignified and silly, it's noisy and it smells. But it shrinks things down to size; it gives me energy again. Grumbling to my husband, hating that I know how to fix myself if nothing else, I haul myself out of my chair, grab my stuff, and head out to my bike.

And my four-year-old's bike rests against it. On the back of her bike is a seat for a doll, but no doll sits there. Instead, she has carefully strapped in her garden: a Thai takeout container filled with potting mix, planted with grass seeds and tiny daisy cuttings, peopled with a wine cork with texta hair and sunnies. Over the weeks the grass has grown, and she has carefully cut it back with scissors.

As I look at this ragged little thing, a spot of green hilarity tacked onto a pink bike painted with fairies, I start to grin. If she can be bothered making a little garden and cutting the handkerchief lawn, strapping it onto her bike and taking it for a ride, I can be bothered.

I can weed the potatoes and find a chicken farm and call a plumber and give the nappies away and say a prayer for the world. As tiny as her little garden is, it's enough to make me enjoy it all again. Perhaps I'll make a cake for dessert to celebrate.

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