A Year of Journaling / Week 5
In the morning, Lewis gets upset with me for about an hour because I tell him that our gardener Jorge is not George Ezra.
Later, when he is finally calm after speaking with Rick on the phone (multiple times), we bring out the two boxes of Duplo in the play room. It is warm and bright and lovely in there. I start building vehicles with the wheels that we have, while Lewis works on a tall zoo that looks like a rocket on wheels. I have the idea to put animals on the back of the vehicles and, eventually, we decide that we are building a mobile zoo. The original zoo is on fire and, one by one, we rescue the animals and place them on our get-away vehicles.
It is lots of fun.
While Lewis naps, I read about the passing of the new abortion laws in our state parliament—allegedly amidst cheers and applause. I think of Cameron and spend the next hour crying.
In the evening, my parents come over. After we've had dinner together, dad and I play Big 2 against Gus and Jamie.
They beat us. No, they thrash us.
A new era has begun…
Saturday morning. Rick is making breakfast.
Bear appears at the bottom of the stairs, sliding Duplo blocks down the bannister.
‘Do you think I can slide the block all the way up there?’ he asks Rick, pointing to the highest point of the bannister.
Rick pauses. Instead of dismissing the question to focus on cooking, he realises it's an opportunity to teach Bear all about potential energy. ‘I would never have missed a chance like that to discuss things with Gus,’ he tells me later.
So he stops what he's doing and spends the next twenty minutes in deep discussion about energy with our son. He explains how an object ‘up high’ has potential energy, but an object even higher has more potential energy.
‘So, in the case of your Duplo, it can't slide from low to high without you putting energy in with your muscles.’ They go on to discuss bouncing balls and hydro electricity. (As you do.)
When Rick finally returns to his scrambled eggs, he is absolutely delighted—with both himself, and with Bear.
‘There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.’
Today, I finally return to mixing paints. I thought I was happy with the colour I mixed last time (before the holidays), but I decide that it is too light. So I rework my formula: less limestone powder and more gum arabic solution. I mix a small portion first, for testing. I paint a few patches and hold it up against the wall. In my studio, the colour looks almost a little too red. But in the front room, with all the bright sun, the colour looks...alive. I mix a bigger portion of paint and paint my one-line interpretation of 爱. On my first go, the paint comes up just a bit too dark. But as I dilute it with more water, I realise, with great relief (and a degree of disbelief), that the colour is perfect.
It is, in fact, the elusive shade that I've been seeking for over two months.
In the afternoon, I ask Pete and Gus for their thoughts on my painting.
‘It looks really good mum!’ they chorus.
‘Really? What do you think of the colour?’ I ask, somewhat apprehensively.
‘I like it!’ says Gus.
‘Can you put that one up in our room?’ asks Pete.
And just like that, my sons enable me to keep going.
Three new Chinese women join my Bible study group in the morning. One of them, Irene, speaks English fluently, so she ends up translating for me. Throughout the study, I find myself using bits of the conversational-level Mandarin that I learnt back in my twenties. Perhaps that Diploma in Asian Languages was not a complete waste of time (and money) after all.
At night, I read a frightening article raising awareness of diabolical websites that target and prey on young school kids. It spurs me on to take drastic action in order to minimise risk to the boys: I start deleting old photos and posts on both Facebook and Instagram, and I deactivate all unnecessary social media accounts. The task seems almost insurmountable, and it dawns on me, with a certain degree of horror, just how wide and extensive our digital footprint can become.
I eventually climb into bed after midnight—exhausted, frazzled, and anxious, but full of determination to complete the mammoth task still ahead of me.
Instead of spending the day painting, I spend the seven hours after school drop-off deleting content from all my social media accounts.
It is a lengthy, tedious, and time-consuming process, but I persevere.
By the end of the day, I have scheduled our Life:Captured Facebook page for deletion, removed all the old posts from my own Facebook page, manually deleted all the old posts on my personal Instagram account, and cleared six years' worth of content from my personal Facebook account.
Again, I climb into bed after midnight.
But, this time, I feel both pleased and relieved. There is more to do tomorrow, but at least it feels achievable.
I work at home in the morning, then drive to church to meet with Carla and Susanna to plan our second SNAP+CHAT workshop.
I spend the rest of my day at Meze Me—writing, journaling, deleting Facebook posts, and archiving Instagram posts for our Life:Captured account. Later, in the evening, I remain at Meze Me to have dinner with other women from church: we meet, we eat, we chat, we laugh, and we eat some more. The fellowship is a gift to me—one I do not take for granted.
By the time I arrive home, the boys are all asleep.
By midnight, we are asleep too.
You can read the other posts in this series here.