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'I dream of a serene morning routine - but I'm not there just yet'

Marisa block

There's always something, isn't there? If it's not the cold lunch, it's the pencil case or the school bag, or the money for the school trip, but I always seem to forget something. "If your head wasn't screwed on to your shoulders, you'd forget it some day," my mum used to say. And you know, she was probably right.

I am a rather scatty person. I put that down to being a creative type. I mean, as a novelist I do tend to live in fantasy land a lot. My teachers used to call me a "dreamer".

I suppose it wasn't too bad when I was just looking after myself. Okay, I did often turn up to my tennis matches with no racquet, and the airport without a passport, and I'd realise I was out of petrol on a motorway, miles from the nearest service station. But I always managed to get by. However, now it's becoming more difficult to live on a wing and a prayer.

My son Gary needs to have his homework done. Unlike me. I work for myself and I'm a great boss. I often give myself the day off and I allow myself to skip deadlines. But Gary's teacher expects his homework done for the next day. He cannot get away with not having it done.

Forgetting the lunch is also very annoying. It takes ages to go home and get it.

Luckily there is a garage across the road from my child's school which is very handy when I forget the lunch. They sell pricey sandwiches and snacks but they've saved my bacon a few times.

I cannot understand the parents I meet in the school yard with four or five kids and they always seem grand. How can they look so relaxed with all those kids? Isn't it a nightmare? Mind you, they probably make the lunches the night before. I worry the bread would be stale by the next day.

However, I'm getting better at being organised. More often than not, I set out the uniform the night before. This saves me scrambling around the place on my hand and knees looking for socks and shoes. Mornings are calmer.


Even the other day, I was so happy when I got up an extra 15 minutes early so I could be organised for the day. Gary was dressed, fed, and taken to school in plenty of time and there was no rushing around for once. Feeling serene and pleased with myself, I spotted a friend of mine in the school yard and agreed to go to coffee with her. Her daughter is in another class to my son, but we're old pals.

We went for coffee in Donnybrook and had a long, leisurely chat. She asked me if I was still in the gym.

"No," I answered "because I walk to school with Gary most days."

"Do you really?"

"Yes," I said. "Apart from today as it was raining. I drove today."

And then I screamed.

"What is it?" My pal was alarmed.

"My car! I left it outside the school! I forgot all about it."

And I ran all the way back to the school, convinced that I'd be clamped. I wasn't, thank God, but still, it wasn't good for the heart.