I prepare a list for Joe of things to do while I am in hospital recovering. The list seems to grow and grow! Belatedly I realise that I can never set down all the things that seem important to me in any given day.
It is not just a list of things to do – bins to be put out for collection, or people to be paid. It is a list of things to know, things to be aware of. Knowing that given half a chance Duncan will leave for school skipping breakfast, having nothing to eat until the evening. Knowing that Julie has a mock exam one afternoon, increasing the risk of a crisis and so avoid commitments you cannot break in a hurry. Knowing that Sandy who cleans our house has just had an operation herself and needs to be reminded not to do heavy lifting.
All these odd bits and pieces make up a mother. All these stray items of information, injunctions and inspirations. Motherly tentacles reaching out into the lives of the family, checking the pulse, testing the temperature.