When the going gets tough, the tough start cleaning. Or clearing out cupboards. On a bad day, I laugh out loud over a comment from one of the lovely F.E.A.S.T. Mums that she is aggressively hoovering. I know this feeling – our lives may be a mess, but our homes can be tidy. We have builders in, hacking off plaster and render, J’s room is due for redecoration and we are clearing his and K’s room. It is dusty, mindless and repetitive. Items are placed in boxes for keeping, donating, selling, throwing out or recycling. I discover musicMagpie and fill boxes with old DVDs and CDs. K and I plan the redecoration of her room, as I plan what to do with J’s. Any question about options put to J tends to lead to puzzlement.
And so it happens, K moves into L’s room temporarily, while I clean and clear, moving two overloaded teenage bedrooms into the next phase of their lives. K and I have to make decisions about carpets and wallpaper. Every single item in each of their rooms is sorted and ordered. It is exhausting and I have to rest frequently, feeling impossibly old. The doctor has assured me that frequent and short periods of activity will help, even if I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as she suspects. But it is the housework equivalent of one foot in front of the other. And somehow, in the drudgery, lightened by the knowledge of the new space we are creating, I forget about the missing L and the pain of knowing she has a weekend of leave, but I will scarcely see her. K and I make plans for suffragette cupcakes to celebrate International Women’s Day at the weekend and book tickets to the Harry Potter studios, something that was on L’s list too, but we are both so tired of waiting for anorexia to go away. I go and see L and make clear that we will always be here, but we can’t put our lives on hold until the unit decides we can spend any meaningful time with her. We have lives to lead and a home to improve and we are both sick of Ed being in the driving seat.