You’re on the final sprint by after dinner. Homework done, dinner eaten, you can taste the freedom. The boys kick about, watch television, chase each other outside on fine evenings. To wash up now or later. Later, later. The house has the appearance of a day’s living as dinner smells settle and activity levels wind down. The farmer kisses all goodnight and heads out the door to milk the cows. It’s a solitary half an hour drinking coffee, reading, surfing the internet, procrastinating, making a phone call while all the household goes about their own business for a little while.
What comes after is work. Cajoling into pajamas, co-ercing into tidy up, washing faces, teaching how to brush teeth, listening as the milk machine goes across the road. Lights are on in the farmhouse earlier now, we cosy into bed and settle into stories. We visit castles, old Ireland, swim underwater, sail pirate ships and say a little prayer. How much do you love me? Oh, that’s a very long way. Sleep now. Sleep.
Mostly they oblige, three little heads peeking above the blankets as they drift into dreams after a hard days work. I resist the urge to sleep myself and drag myself down the stairs to nighttime radio, washing up, baking bread if needed and organizing. I boil the kettle for the farmer’s supper, switch on the outside light waiting for him to come home. There is much living in a day around here. Rightly so.