Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two Trips to Town

It was an average Thursday that kicked off with car no.2 refusing to start for the school run. I’d breathed a sigh of relief having successfully dispatched all three kids out to the car, fully equipped for school, hair brushed and plaited (except for our son!), and was just about to take my first sip of tea, when the door blew open again and they all trooped through on the way to borrow my sister-in-law’s car to take them to school (Car no.1 is still, after more than three weeks, at the garage in Cape Town). Once the children were duly dropped off, my husband returned to resuscitate the Toyota with a bit of borrowed energy from SILs car battery….

But this wasn’t supposed to be another car post. Suffice it to say that both of our cars are now out of action in vehicular intensive care, with no prospect of a cure until some time next week, and no fuming or fretting or storming or ranting is going to help. Luckily we share our property with my two SILs and with some juggling of their cars we can function, almost…we hope.

So with one sister in law working from home today I could use her car and thought I’d better do the weekly shop while I could. The children had been fractious and squabblesome on the way back from school, so not feeling patient enough to drag their unpredictable mass energy around the supermarket, I set off after lunch with just Middle Daughter in tow, as she urgently needed new shoes having grown out of them all overnight.

We had an unhurried shopping session and really enjoyed the rare one-on-one time, choosing her shoes quite quickly and getting two pairs, as they were in the sale and very cheap and cheerful. I suppressed any twinges of parental guilt left over from having grown up myself in good quality leather Clarks sandals that are fitted for width and good for growing feet. They don’t do Clarks or any sort of width-fitted shoes over here and they would be way too expensive if they did, especially at the rate the kids are growing at the moment.

We did the grocery shopping amicably, with her pushing the trolley and practising her reading on the labels of the cheese biscuits, working out which brands were cheaper and trying to decide whether to buy the better brand for slightly more or the cheaper one that wasn’t quite so nice. All in all we enjoyed ourselves doing the routine shop without the usual crowd control measures and drove back home happily.

At home the new shoes were duly admired by all, and we in our turn admired the frog that had been caught and the elaborate house constructed for it by Youngest and Ryan in our absence. Fifteen minutes later, while I was still unpacking shopping, before even getting a cup of tea, a howl erupted from outside.

My husband returned from investigating, hand clamped round Middle Daughter’s left arm, where a deep cut was oozing all over the floor. She’d been climbing over the remains of the rusty metal jungle gym that we’d taken down because it was getting dangerous, but not yet carted away.

One makeshift bandage later and she and I were retracing our path in a reversal of the afternoon’s shopping trip. Twenty-five minutes back down the same long road into town, that we’d driven only half an hour earlier, and into the doctor’s surgery, where he’d very kindly waited for us after surgery hours had finished.

It was a deep cut, right close to the elbow and she was frightened by the idea of needles sewing her up, confiding to me that she felt like screaming. I told her to go ahead and scream but she didn’t and was very brave, managing to keep still enough while he put in local anaesthetic and then eight stitches to close it up. And then after all that she still had to have a tetanus injection.

So the day closed its second shadow cycle, as we drove back down the main road once more, watching the sun slide down behind the horizon, turning all the clouds pink and orange. Table Mountain in the distance had a delicate shawl of lilac draped around its shoulders, and my daughter and I had had even more one-on-one bonding time than we’d expected, sharing both the joys of successful shopping and the growing-up experience of bearing pain and discomfort without kicking up a fuss or refusing to co-operate.

So after a day like today, with Mary Alice's Thankful Thursday in mind, I’m thankful for several things:
  • living on a shared property where there is always someone happy to help out in an emergency
  • having sisters-in-law who are more than happy to share their cars
  • having a kind family doctor who stays behind after hours to stitch up an arm, so that we don’t have to run the gauntlet of the hospital emergency room
  • and even the one on one time spent with my daughter however it came about, which doesn’t happen often enough in a family of three children
  • last of all for the colours of sunset holding out beauty and hope.


  1. Lovely list of gratitude. I grew up living with extended family on a large property also and it does help to have many helping hands..and workable cars! Sounds like you have a good doctor too...who is in the business for all the right reasons. Funny how some days dawn so ordinary and then turn out to have so many little challenges to them.

  2. Oh, poor little girl! There is nothing quite as terrifying to a chid as the sight of their own blood - I remember the feeling well! A wonderful list of gratitude though, and glad that she is OK.


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