It’s time to go home. My generosity of spirit splutters on its last breath. My bone of righteousness is getting haughtier than ever, rising with every plastic cup carelessly thrown in the trash. I seem to find less and less compassion for my mother in law’s pains in body and fears in mind. The fears are non-specific, triggered by anything heard – or not heard because of failing hearing. 

A few weeks ago I enjoyed bringing her a plate whenever I had prepared something for the boys, or offering to make her a cup of coffee when I was having one myself. Now even a smile of comfort is an effort. I miss my own mum and feel it is unfair she doesn’t get as much time with me, or even more so, with my boys. I want to be with her, bring her a cuppa, prepare a plate for her, comfort her when she is aching or feeling lost. Resentment seeps in where compassion is cracking. I still do what I need to do out of duty. 

We have been here all of the third lockdown and while we couldn’t leave then, now two more weeks have passed before getting organised to drive back home. 

I take a breath outside on the stairs, warmed by the morning sun. The olive trees across the fence glitter. Their pretty leaves perform a dance for me accompanied by the song of so many birds feeding off the big red flowers in the garden. Even the gang of pigeons on the electric wire stop shitting on our clean laundry hanging below and take a break to watch. 

I am so grateful to have a home in this place. I am grateful to be embraced and welcomed into this family. I am aware of the privilege I have in these times to be able to change scenery from time to time. I will look forward to the next school break when we come back to visit here again.

I close my eyes and let the sun lick my face a little bit longer. Then I will get up and go make mother in law a cup of coffee.