At 6am this morning I left the warmth of my bed and stared at the kitchen in mild despair. Today is Matariki and I have two plates of healthy food to provide for the shared lunch being held at my children's school. Favourite Handyman is much improved but hadn't felt strong enough to do the dishes the night before. I'd done one dishwasher load then and began to organise another this morning. I put potatoes on to cook after realising we had no canned borlotti or similar beans for the mini quiches.
I may be better in the morning than late at night, but I'm still not great at restaurant-speed cooking when I'm tired. By 9.05am, I'd made two dozen mini quiches, hummous and assembled carrots, celery, olives and crackers into named containers. I'd done a big pile of dishes. I'd also driven FH to work in my dressing gown, driven the kids to school in my dressing gown (we live very close but I refuse to walk them across State Highway 6 in my dressing gown), organised their play lunches and the feeding of the chooks. My special treat at this point was a shower, one uninterrupted by arguing children. At 9.25 I dropped the food off at the primary school and at 9.40am I was at work, slightly breathless but triumphant over the morning mothering challenge. Frankly, it was a fairly grumpy kind of triumph, because washing dishes and cooking before dawn isn't my idea of fun.
Come 12.20, I finished the non-negotiable part of my job (some of my time is flexible and some of it is not) and hurried to deposit my computer and paraphenalia on my desk, then run to the car and drive to our local primary school. I didn't quite run up all the steep school driveway but I hurried nevertheless and ran bits of it. I didn't want to miss the kapahaka performance.
Was it all worth it? The early start, the frustration at a seemingly endless job of making food and the extra burden of clean the utensils this past ten days? The kapahaka performance was wonderful. By the last waiata, I was feeling quite emotional, as I always do, watching my little white boy (who is getting to be medium-sized) putting his heart and soul into his haka performance in particular, overwhelmed by the effect of all these children performing together in a form unique to New Zealand. Brighid is in the kapahaka group, but the tiniest children didn't perform today.
I remembered once more going to kapahaka class in London. Fionn was two and I wanted us to expose him to Te Reo and waiata. The people of Ngati Runana were so kind and so welcoming. Fionn wasn't ready to participate and FH and I don't sing, so we didn't continue, but I will always remember the warmth of that Saturday session. Now we are home, and our children get to learn and share in Maori culture and so do we.
The shared lunch was lovely. Was it worth it? Yes it was. Am I glad that FH has returned to dishes duty tonight? I don't quite have a word to express how glad.