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And there's the Italian in me.


"Pick up those books! It's not time for reading!"


The irony in this statement is not lost on me, seeing as I'd just read to the children for about thirty minutes over breakfast. 'Goodnight Mister Tom' is due back at the library in two days, and despite reading for an hour every night this past week, we need to put in more time to get us to the end by the due date. Such a wonderful stress to have.


"These shoes have to be put away. Who put those markers over here? Seriously, I've just tidied there!"


The timer I'd set for reading had gone off, reminding me in an instant that we'd not finished tidying for George, the much-loved cleaner, I'm still in my PJs, my mother is expecting me to take her to an appointment shortly, and lunches are not yet made. These poor children. One minute they're luxuriating in the lullaby of being read to (by an at times teary mother), gentle conversation about some challenging content, lots to think about and consider. Then, in the blink of an eye, they're ripped to immediate attention by their now maniacal Mum, frantic and barking orders to anyone within - or not - earshot. Doesn't seem fair, but there's no time to think about that now.


"Look at this bathroom! Brush your teeth properly! Pull up the blinds in your room! Why aren't there shoes on your feet?!"


Helmets are soon on, children waved off to school, and the final bits and pieces of mess shoved into drawers. I picture my mother sitting placidly on her front porch waiting for me, never anxious or in a flurry. I so admire that about her. In many ways, I'm very much like my mother, but aspects of my Italian father are indisputable, particularly when faced with a pressure situation. But you know what? Although my Dad was often frantic trying to get us to one place or another, I recall those moments with fondness. My brothers and I often recollect him being outraged in one way or another, indeed we imitate these moments with genuine affection when we're together. We share a laugh, as we did with Dad when he was alive, even when he was in his element. I sigh and smile, trusting my children will see through the madness to the love, as we could with Dad.


"Hi Mum, sorry I'm late."


She smiles, calmly waits for me to come to a stop, then slides gently into the car beside me. "Are you late? Don't worry about it, we've plenty of time. How's your morning been?"

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