It’s a sunny day.
My son is pulling out all his toys and throwing them on the ground. Again. But what caused me despair yesterday just seems comical today.
For no obvious discernible reason things are all a bit brighter.
Dressing becomes a joke. I tuck his trousers into his socks and his t-shirt into his pants, just to see the look on mummy’s face.
Washing becomes a game where I’m the giant towel monster chasing him around the bed.
I go into the kitchen and move to give my wife a kiss only to discover that at that exact moment she’s stuffing slices of cooked ham into her mouth.
The house is full of giggles today. My son’s laughter is contagious and you don’t want a vaccine.
I’m juggling tasks better. While I play his games I’m also making a stock from last night’s chicken carcass, enjoying the tasks of reducing, tasting, seasoning and straining until I have a pure golden liquid which will be the base of tonight’s dinner. There’s something pleasing in the revolution of the process.
My boy and mummy have to go to the dentist in Newcastle. It could be tricky but we sell it as a day out in the seaside town and he goes along happily. The one sticky moment when he doesn’t want to leave the house is neutralised by my crazy stair dance (warning, it’s copyrighted so don’t try to steal the idea).
As I drive along the coast I watch the light breeze play with the fingers of the trees. There’s a tune going round and round in my head. I realise it’s Waylon Jennings’ theme from the Dukes of Hazzard. Without even noticing I’ve changed the lyrics from ‘Just the good ol’ boys’ to ‘Just a daddy’s boy.’
We’re in and out of the dentist in minutes, my son emerges beaming from the surgery with a new sticker and the glow of congratulation. It’s quite a contrast to my dental visits which can run long into the afternoon as a scaffold is constructed around my mouth.
Then we go to the play-park at the seafront. It’s the swings first (it’s always the swings first), before Superman rescues me from disaster half a dozen times.
There’s a slide which scares my son a little so he asks to sit on my knee the first time. As we’re halfway down I realise there’s a puddle at the bottom of the chute. The backside of my jeans is now wringing, but it’s ok.
Then we join mummy again in a cafe for breakfast. I think to hell with it and order a full Ulster fry, complete with soda and fadge. My son sits besides me happily eating a sausage and licking the butter off his toast.
While I’m sipping coffee I receive a tweet. It’s from Mumsnet and it tells me that yesterday’s post The Bad Day has been selected as their blog of the day (my life has truly gone off in an unexpected direction).
I feel warmth coming through the window, onto my face. It’s a sunny day.
Why is today so much different than yesterday? I suppose if I knew the answer to that I wouldn’t be a penniless blogger, a modern day minstrel peddling my bad jokes and half-baked philosophies.
The truth is the two days were probably not that much different, perhaps just a tiny degree of altered focus on my part.
Yesterday wasn’t that bad and today wasn’t that good, but maybe our minds are not equipped to deal with too many shades of grey and instead serve up ready-made disasters and triumphs.
I talk a lot about trying to turn bad things into good and, as always, I’m encouraged by the response to yesterday’s blog, the number of people who say they’ve been through exactly the same thing. It’s the solace of shared experience.
I start to think that there’s something maddening in how random it all is. How we’re thrown up and down like some discarded plastic bottle in a rough sea. Then I stop myself. We’re having a good time. Maybe it’s enough for today just to leave it at that.
I ask my son if he wants to go for a walk on the beach. After all, that’s what you do on a sunny day.