Parenting is…

… 60% laundry, 10% a niggling feeling that you should be doing laundry. It’s waking up after two hours of sleep ready to get into the day or waking up after six hours wondering how you’re going to zombie yourself through the morning routine. It’s somehow managing to get through regardless. 

Parenting is laughing along with your three year old’s shenanigans – pyjama top half off or feet kicking away the socks you’re trying to help put on until it’s suddenly just not funny come on now we have to go. It’s a tiny hand in yours as you walk around the block marvelling at the bees in the weeds or a small piece of rubbish that sparkles in the sunlight. It’s that same little hand breaking free from you to fix a slouching sock when you’re in the middle of crossing a road. 

Parenting is back pain. Sometimes from lifting and rocking and patting and shooshing and jiggling, sometimes from being climbed on like a horse or scaled like a mountain or just from waking up huddled and scrunched. 

Parenting is a small collection of rocks at the bottom of a school bag, a handful of leaves carried faithfully then discreetly discarded, it’s a pocket full of things you’ve picked up off the bedroom floor intending to put in the bin at some point. It’s an assortment of sticks around the house that look like letters or dinosaur bones.

Parenting is finding a moment to go to the loo and on the way clearing dishes from the table, while I’m here I’d better sweep those crumbs up, take that discarded sock to the laundry – should I be doing laundry today? Checking the weather on your phone and reading three new messages before remembering you really need to pee as someone calls you to their own urgency. 

Parenting is a series of urgencies.

Parenting is a pattern of rushing chaos followed by eery calm. Moments of never having enough time interspersed with moments when everyone is finally asleep and you’re not sure what to do with yourself. Parenting is sometimes just not knowing what to do with yourself when you’re finally and briefly alone.

Parenting is calling your own parents to describe the quirks and frustrations of the stage you’re enduring – the explosions of emotion, refusals of certain foods, usually green – and being told I remember it well, unable to decipher the tone as wistful, empathetic, regretful or… vengeful?

Parenting is simultaneously looking forward to the next stage while scrolling through google’s remember this day? photos whispering to yourself, yes! How was that three years ago? or no, no, no, I don’t remember that day at all. It’s an exercise in letting go, farewelling each phase of the small person as they change before your eyes the way the sun sets just slowly enough to make the clouds pink around the edges, both brighter and darker at the same time. 

Parenting is watching a sunset and knowing you still have a whole night of maybe sleeping, maybe waking to get through before it will rise again. Perhaps the morning will be pink too or foggy with condensation and sleep deprivation, or perhaps the sun will rise above the clouds and stream down like divinity on the clothes line and tomorrow will in fact be an excellent day for laundry.


From the too early to ask but wanting to know
to the shared wanting to the trying to the monthly red stain no.

From the blood tests and food shifts
to the caffeine withdrawal and supplements

from the trying some more to the relief and amazement
to the dancing in the living room joy.

From the tired to the queasy to the secret until 
safe to tell for the congratulations.

From the swelling to the scans the nervous to the healthy
other parents’ stories from the horror to the perfect.

From the haemorrhoids that passed to the ones that bled
through maternity dress on the morning train. 

From the slow slow walk to the tired tired tired
from the phone scroll waiting to the waters breaking

from the induction to the horse breath waves 
of squeeze and release to the remember your horse breath

the pushing and crying the holding and feeding
from the crying and the crying and crying.

From the leaking to the feeding the pooping the leaking
the waking and waking to the crying some more.

From the pain to the fever hot red rocks of infection
to the antibiotics to the happening again.

From the lockdowns the masks to the walks but not sitting
the curfews the radius the zooming the slowing down.

From the packing and moving to the solving and solving 
from the sickness to the steps to new words and daycare.

From the washing to the laundry the soaking and drying 
to the nappies the laundry the food on the floor.

From the potty to the wetting the frustration the refusing
from the anxiety to the getting it but the anxiety still there.

From the wanting only mummy to the not wanting mummy 
from the going back to work to the never having time.

From the wanting again to the saying it out loud
from the positive test to the covid positive test

from the scans to the appointments, the explaining
the announcement to the excitement

the exhaustion at the thought 
of the crying the waking the leaking ahead.

From the nausea to the magnesium to the virus again
to the tired the tired the tired…

From the meltdowns to the accidents the shouting and biting
too tired for games too big now to hide build forts carry run.

From the wait wait wait to the sudden gut punch and gush
from the rush to the shout to the boy.

From the coming home to the blurry
to the cuddles and recovery.

From the sweetness to the adjustment the struggling to adjust
from the meltdowns to the sleep

Oh the sleep.

From the feeding to the social not wanting to miss this time
from the things being open to the please keep being open.

From the trips to the flights the long long haul
from the family to the home again to the growing and growing.

From the jet lag to the waking winter setting in 
from the sleep coming back the good sleeper is back.

From the real estate agents to the doctors
to being blindsided by news

from this thing to the next thing and the next carry on. 

Waste not

If I were my mother I would cut the brown 
and bitten bits from my daughter’s 
collection of abandoned apples
cook them in a small pot
eat them with muesli and yoghurt.

If I were my grandmother I would never
have given a whole apple 
to a child in the first place, but slivered it 
into sharable pieces
arranged neatly on a plate for all.

I try to be a good mother
never raising my voice or hand
but I’ve always been awkward about fruit.
Buying blueberries out of season
just because I can.

I keep trying to protect my daughter from
the browning bitten parts of the world
but think guiltily of the apple crumble
we could be having as I send
spent, forgotten apples to the worms.

SK on SK: That time I interviewed Shehan Karunatilaka

Congratulations to 2022 Booker Prize-winning author Shehan Karunatilaka! His second novel, ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ is narrated by a dead man and has just won the prestigious prize. Here’s an interview I did with him at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival, 2013 about his award-winning debut novel Chinaman:

The Sportswriter

This interview first appeared in The Lumiere Reader, 2013

New Zealand educated Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka has won the prestigious Commonwealth Book Prize 2012. Through the eyes of a retired sportswriter WG Karunasena, Chinaman he tells a story of modern Sri Lanka through the history of its most loved sport, cricket. SK talks to Saradha Koirala about Forgotten Silver, Wanganui Collegiate boofheads, obsession and absurdity, and ‘96.

Chinaman blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction somewhat – real people and moments in history are cited and there’s a sense of self-awareness “You are shaking your head. You are closing the book and frowning at the cover,” says the narrator in the opening chapters. “Re-reading the blurb at the back. Wondering if a refund is out of the question.” Why did you choose to integrate fact and fiction and how does it add to the credibility of the story? 

The initial plan was to write the book as non-fiction, or as fiction masquerading as fact. I felt that Sri Lankan spin bowlers on the 1980s was such an obscure topic that I could make up anything and pass it off as truth. My inspiration was the Peter Jackson documentary Forgotten Silver, which I saw as a student at Massey and which completely took me in – at least for half an hour. But a lot of the stories in Chinaman are based on anecdotes and real events, that it seemed disingenuous not to at least nod at the real stories hidden amidst the lies. 

The main character, Pradeep Mathew, for example, is an amalgamation of a number of real cricket players – who were they and what interested you about their stories?

I used to bowl left-arm spin and grew up in Wanganui, dreaming of doing just that for Sri Lanka. So I kept a close watch on Sri Lankan spin bowlers and found that until Murali came along, most of them had a very short shelf life. Guys like Anura Ranasinghe. Roshan Guneratne and Sridharan Jeganathan all played test cricket for Sri Lanka, performed well and then disappeared. All three of those guys were tipped for greatness and all three died in the 40s, after their careers washed up. For some reason, I found this fascinating. The idea that you could have the talent to get the highest level and then squander it. I started being drawn to one-hit wonders in all walks of life. I shouldn’t talk too soon, considering I’ve only written one book myself.

The story of WG Karunasena writing about Pradeep Mathew becomes the focus of Chinaman and readers perhaps learn more about the sportswriter than the sportsman. How did you create WG as a character?

Karunasena began as a minor character, a device from which to deliver my Forgotten Silver tale. He then became the sole narrative voice, and then, without warning, he took over the book. This wasn’t my intention. But once it became clear that the teller was as much a part of the story as the story itself, I revised the whole thing. My initial models for WG and his sidekick Ari, were Waldorf and Stadler, the two grumpy old men from the balcony of The Muppet Show. But then I began spending afternoons drinking arrack with old men in dodgy bars, talking about cricket and life. The voice evolved organically from there.  

His voice comes across very well – the sense of obsession is obvious from the start. Is there a sense of absurdity in a nation’s fixation on sportspeople and sport history? When do we know we’ve gone too far?

Life in Sri Lanka is filled with absurdity. Buddhist monks acting like thugs, politicians having gangster-style shootouts, greased devils terrorizing the country, journalists being picked up in white vans and never being seen again. Then there are the various fictions woven over how our wars are won and lost. You can either go mad, make pythonesque jokes about it, or you find a distraction.  Cricket is our main distraction. The politicians know this, so if they want to introduce a price hike or expand their executive powers they do it during a test series. It’s not surprising that we distract ourselves with cricket and cricketers. It’s much more pleasant than facing reality.

How does Sri Lanka’s sports obsession compare with New Zealand’s?

Kiwis have many sports to obsess over. League, union, netball, sailing, maybe even cricket. We just have the one. And at the moment, we’re pretty crap at it. I think we’re a nation of critics and spectators, whereas New Zealand is a nation of players and doers. It doesn’t mean our obsessions are any less ridiculous, just that they’re slightly more irritating.

What else did you learn about New Zealand sporting culture while living here?

I steered clear of the rugbyheads at Massey, because they were the same guys who used to beat me up at Wanganui Collegiate School. So for a long time I avoided Kiwi sporting culture and embraced the so-called alternative arts and music scene in the early 90s.
But after I got rid of that chip on my shoulder, I joined a social cricket team and started watching Fitzpatrick’s All Blacks.  You have a very physical and active nation and that’s something to be proud of. It’s hard not to have a great sporting culture, when you live in such wide open spaces.

You’ve written feature articles, travel stories, short stories and advertising campaigns. What are some commonalities between these forms and how did they feed into Chinaman?

Every form of writing is difficult and involves prolonged periods of procrastination, followed by panic, followed by frantic activity. I guess the ads and the articles taught me to sit in one place, come up with more ideas than I needed, and to type even when the fingers aren’t moving. I did the same for Chinaman, just did it for three years non-stop.

Do you have a preferred genre in which to write?

I’d like to try them all. Comedy, tragedy, horror, love. Whatever feels interesting and whatever the story needs to be. Chinaman is a mock detective story, told by a drunk. My next one is a… oops, almost gave it away.

A lot of research must have gone into writing Chinaman (which covers decades of not just cricketing but national history). What was your starting point and how long was the process of writing the novel?

One year of research, one year of writing, one year of rewriting. I watched every Sri Lankan cricket match from 1982-1999, read every cricket book I could find, and hung out with loads of drunk old men. It was a glorious way to spend three years. 

WG says at one point, “Sport can unite worlds, tear down walls, and transcend race, the past and all probability. Unlike life, sport is eternal. Unlike life, sport matters.” How else do you see sport as a metaphor for life?

I don’t actually believe most of WG’s drunken pseudo-philosophy. I’m not sure if sport is as transcendent as he claims it is. In fact a majority of games are fairly pointless and do nothing more than suck up time. That said, some, like that final in Lahore in ’96, can alter the universe. I do see the parallels between life and test cricket though. Both can be sprawling affairs with long periods of boredom, punctuated by moments of brilliance.  Some of them can be inspirational, but most end up as drab draws.

Chinaman is published by Random House India/Jonathan Cape UK, and is winner of Gratiaen Prize 2008 and Commonwealth Book Prize 2012. Shehan Karunatilaka appears as part of the Auckland Writers and Readers Fesitval 2013.

Shehan Karunatilaka has won the Booker Prize for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’

Learning to love Blue: How a book became a symbol of its own ideas.

Learning to love Blue has won the Young Adult category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Three significant things happened one week in April this year: I took a positive pregnancy test, followed by a positive covid test and then received an email from the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, telling me my little blue self published Young Adult novel was a finalist in the 2022 awards. I was sworn to secrecy, but put on a mask and stood in my partner’s office doorway to tell him. I couldn’t help myself.

Drafted when I first arrived in Melbourne in 2016, Learning to love Blue quickly felt like a symbol of my own difficult migration. I wrote 1000 words a day for a few months, while also completing my third poetry collection, Photos of the Sky, but it came at the cost of making real life friends and actually enjoying my new home in the way that my character, Paige, manages to. The first draft was rather introspective and waffly and reflected my own constant contemplation of my recent decisions.

Things changed, months and years past and I slowly began to feel comfortable in my new home. Thanks to work and dating apps, I started to meet people and each time I revised Blue I added more life, more joy and more drama to the otherwise quiet life of Paige. Life and the novel were becoming more and more how life and a novel should be.

Then life really took off: I found love and friendships, went on adventures, had a baby. Things were rolling along as the manuscript lay untouched. And then… it was 2020. Our baby was born in January, just before the world as we knew it ground to a shocking halt. We had new challenges to face and faced these in isolation from not only our overseas families, but even just our nearby friends. Life shrunk down to our bubble of three and we focussed only on looking after each other.

I took two years parental leave from my job as the first year flew by in a blur of ground-hog day lockdowns, and by the second year I could see just a little bit further beyond our four walls and front gate. I was ready for the challenges of wider life again.

So I dug out the long neglected manuscript and gave it a shake. I read it, enjoying the memories of exploring a new city again, just as I was starting to show my daughter the joy of the city we’ve chosen to live in. The music venues and cafes of Paige’s world were struggling to stay open and the novel felt like a love song to the city we all fall in love with when we first arrive in Melbourne. Thrown into yet another lockdown, I had time and curiosity, so I investigated self-publishing.

The whole process from editing to holding the printed book in my hands was a matter of a few short months and I truly thought I would be happy if just a couple of my facebook fans were able to hold their own copy too. I did not have lofty ambitions for this book and was feeling content in the rhythm of my Melbourne life, hopeful about the opening up to come.

While judging the poetry category of the Ockhams in September and after some positive comments from said facebook fans, I realised that the judging process for book awards is fair and objective: books arrive in a stack that the judges work their way through carefully and every book is given a chance. As publisher of my own work, it was up to me to back it and I thought at the very least that’s a couple more people in the world who will know about the book. I packaged the required number of copies up in a tatty old green shoebox, somehow managed to misspell ‘New Zealand’ in the address label and sent it off, only imagining the possibilities I was opening it up for.

When I told my partner about the shortlist from a safe distance in April, we were just about to go to New Zealand for a holiday. Travel was stressful and the idea of us all going again so soon for the awards ceremony was somewhat unappealing. I decided I would go alone and just for a couple of days. I wanted to take this Wellington-to-Melbourne book back to Wellington and was representing both author and publisher. By the time I travelled I was five months pregnant, so not really alone at all.

The awards last week were thrilling. Being in a crowd again, being part of a celebration again, being with my New Zealand family knowing my partner and daughter were in Melbourne live-streaming in the kitchen was buzzy and flustering. Sharing a stage with Children’s Literature greats such as David Hill, Eileen Merriman, Gavin Bishop and their esteemed publishers was beyond my wildest dreams. This little blue book had taken me far from its lockdown origins.

I’m still reeling from this win. I was kindly reminded recently that judges spend hours deliberating these things and it’s not the random fluke it felt like on the night. If the book lacks the action and adventure of the other finalists, that’s because it’s supposed to. It’s a quiet book. It’s a book about listening, slowing down, considering other people’s points of view and of course learning to love all the great music that exists in the world already. I am indebted to Joni Mitchell for her wonderful album Blue – a gentle yet powerful reminder to feel all the feelings of being alive. Melbourne is alive again and we go out and exist in the world with purpose, exploring the city anew. Learning to love Blue is out in the world too and I’m over the moon that it’s being read and loved and having its own adventures.


I’ve glued my daughter’s hair clips back together
pink fabric ripped, but salvageable and
a small blue heart from my own broken earrings.

I could ride my bike to the mall right now 
buy them ten times over, buy the brightest ones
the most expensive ones, ones that will survive 

small fingers and curiosity. They’ve lasted less than two months 
the trip to Kmart her first time using a public toilet, everything 
an adventure after months of lockdown, everything an adventure 

when you’re not-quite two. I could buy her new hair clips 
every day, but I won’t because one bedtime meltdown
she’d been moved away from the cat, who

puts up with more than he should, though loved
puts up with so much she thinks his tail is fair game.
She’s still learning not to squeeze so hard. I took her 

to her room, wiped streaks of tears sat opposite,
a pale green swaddle from newborn days draped
over her head and mine as she calmed, held 

my face with the gentleness I know she has
gentleness I hope for her, but hope will not be her undoing
as it so often has felt like mine…

Thank you for my joy, Mummy I checked I’d understood, Your joy?
Yes. Thank you for my joy. Thank you for dinner, Mummy.
hands still gentle, the same hands that dissected hair clips

beat fists on the ground, made the cat flinch (but never leave, 
I really feel he should sometimes just leave)
Thank you for my sparkly hair clips from Kmart, Mummy.

So I’ve glued them back together, adding a piece 
of me, knowing we’ll break and renew each other
twenty more times before morning.

Sleep no more

This was first written in July 2020 but lost and abandoned due to sleep deprivation. I may have once had vaulting ambitions for it, but here it is.

Most years around this time, I’m digging out my Macbeth notes and introducing another wide-eyed bunch of fifteen year olds to the Scottish play. In my early years of teaching I asked a colleague how I should start and she very generously stopped what she was doing, swivelled her chair over and explained her entire approach to teaching Shakespeare lesson by lesson. I’ve been doing it this way ever since:

We read the play together as a class, stopping for clarification and amazement at the use of language. We note down the references to sleep, notice how death is compared to sleep, how lack of sleep causes madness and hallucinations; how after the Macbeths murder Duncan, we rarely see them again in daylight, suggesting that perhaps they are ranting and scheming all night. They’re not sleeping. Although Macbeth’s first hallucination comes before the murder — the dagger of confirmation bias that leads him to commit the deed he claims to be in two minds about — after the murder these ramp up. Right away he swears he could hear someone say “Sleep no more, Macbeth hath murdered sleep.” And then sleep no more he does.

My job teaching Shakespeare is on hold for a while, but my current job is making me an even deeper analyst of the themes of sleep.

Every morning for the last 6 months I’ve been subconsciously adding up the sleep I got over the previous night. At first I would crawl into bed so exhausted I had no trouble falling asleep, but later I would lie awake waiting for our baby to wake and need me. Most nights I was clocking between 5 and 7 hours though, albeit in snippets. I would fall asleep with the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star roving around my brain, or the steady chant of the first two pages of Goodnight Moon. Babies crave routine, they tell me. Routine makes the days blur and bleed into each other, indistinguishably. In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon, damn spot.

A Facebook post about my lack of sleep garners responses from parents far and wide, “they all have ptsd” my partner says. A friend calls and tells me how useful controlled crying was for their first. We switch to video so he can see my baby trying to crawl and he sings a waiata to her. She bursts into tears. A few days later another friend sends a long message about the complete opposite approach his family used. I don’t even know if I’m confused anymore.

Some nights our baby doesn’t sleep because she wants to be in someone’s arms and how can you blame her? How can you refuse? She’s so very few months out in this vast unembracing world. Other times she’s just wide awake. I hold her and sway in that baby-holding way, while her big eyes glisten in the shafts of street light that find their way through the venetian blinds. She stares at the patterns it makes on the wall, scurries her fingers over my chest or moves them through the bedroom air. She’s calm in these moments, but I have no idea how to get her from awake, alert, curious and calm to deeply asleep in her bed. 

Parents’ group share their brief frustrations with sleep in our Whatsapp chat, but it’s always attributed to a scheduled sleep regression, teething or the catchall cry of “wonder weeks!” No one’s admitting that sometimes babies defy the structure of night and day, sometimes they’re in shitty moods, sometimes they’re just amazed to be here and want to see it all for themselves.

The less sleep I get the more scheming a Macbeth I become, trying to cover the tracks of my absolute naivety in parenting. We wake and debrief, add up the hours and make a plan for the next night. How can she not love sleep? we ask no one. We crave the coaxing and cuddling, the singing and swaying for ourselves. We crave the sleep she’s refusing. Oh sleep, Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, / The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, / Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, / Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

Until eventually, we dream of it.

Already I’m starting to think fondly of our time locked down together.

Yesterday our neighbours came over to say goodbye. They’re moving to their own house after renting the place with the enviable backyard since before we moved in. I remember our first chat over the fence with the neighbouring two year old showing us his dance moves on the picnic table and the older boy telling long stories about pre-lockdown trips to the beach and the sheep clock he has in his room. Lotus, all cheeks and six months old, looked on with wonder – we hadn’t met many new people in her life. 

She was just starting to get mobile. Figuring out her own way to crawl about the house we had moved to during lockdown from a small windowless square of life: couch, baby mat, bassinet, repeat. Everything was shutting down, but our world was opening up to a much bigger house with doors that swing out onto a deck and a tree-framed garden below. 

As restricted weeks and months went on, we would rush to the fence when we saw our neighbours playing in their back garden or hanging out the laundry. Standing on tippy-toes and holding Lotus aloft was how we often had our only live conversation for the week. 

After a while, we started seeing them in the driveway, in the street, organising times to walk with them or inviting them into our front yard when we were allowed. A family from parents’ group live a few houses down next to the laneway and their little one is now Lotus’ best friend. Lockdown walks and front yard plays cemented that friendship as we would often walk past hoping to see them and stand at the gate to chat. The little ones learnt to play together, learnt to talk and tell stories to each other. Their hugs on greeting or departure are emphatic collisions of joy.

We’ve learnt the routines of our street’s dog walkers and exercisers. There was worry when one neighbour’s elderly dad stopped walking past (he moved to a retirement home) and excitement when a pram full of toddler moved in across the road. There’s a couple whose names we still don’t know, but we quickly learnt their boisterous dogs are Louie and Boyboy.

Having to stay close in our neighbourhood, ironically, kept us going. People in our street and the streets nearby have given Lotus toys and books. We have found cake on our doorstep, collected oranges and lemons from outside people’s houses, gathered herbs, feijoas and guavas from the food forest and communal spaces. I built a street library to share books and give something back to the community that has been so generous to us. Although we missed our dear friends and family during lockdown, we are so grateful to have built new connections and friendships. 

Now that things are open, we bump into our street friends less frequently. We can go to the zoo, the city, friends in other suburbs, so there’s less need to hang hopefully around the front gate or laneway. 

Apart from our (now ex) neighbours visiting – Lotus no longer amazed to see other people, but excited and chatty, showing them how she decorated the Christmas tree and saying “it’s a bit sad” when they asked about our New Zealand trip – yesterday was a lockdown throwback day. Lotus and I walked to a cafe with our keep-cups then played at one of our favourite playgrounds. I had never noticed playgrounds before lockdown, but as they were one of the few things open for so many months, we have become experts in which is best on which sort of day. 

In the afternoon, we walked along our street, Lotus carrying her unicorn and giraffe under one arm to show (but not to touch, we’re still learning to share) her friend and when they weren’t in their front yard we walked down the laneway, now overgrown with green, until they heard us and came out to play.

Summer’s here and already we have had adventures, weekends away and invited as many people as we could think of to our house. But some days call for the simplicity of a walk down your own street, revisiting the things that, for us, made isolation a time of community.

Anxiety poem

We count out the things taken from us
handed back nestled in conditions 
permissions and we’re so grateful,
so grateful for the simple gift
of driving to the supermarket 
sitting up in the trolley like an adventure
choosing snacks for our drive back home
we’re so grateful, so lucky
to be able to drive to the supermarket together.

We walk around the block, hoping to bump into someone
never dobbing in the neighbours, we’re happy to see them
happy to stand in the street and talk to
their aunty, their mother, their entire family
the pavement becomes our meeting place
kids sharing toys, drawing worms and flowers
drawing hearts and rhinos and we’re so lucky
so grateful for the company, so lucky to have each other.

Our radius expands and we could go to the city
but our circle is set, not ready to be stretched and besides
we’re so lucky, so grateful. It’s a numbers game as always
one shot, two shots, dates and percentages 
kilometres from home, hours of exercise 
how many friends can you fit on a picnic rug?
how many friends do you still have and we’ll get there
we say, we’re counting on it, counting and counting
conversations edited to how are you getting on
we’ll get there. We’re lucky, we’re counting, we’re lucky.

Any other year of my life, I say, any other year and this 
would be unbearable. We can’t know what it’s like 
for everyone else, but we know we’re lucky, grateful
counting our lucky stars, counting our blessings
counting and counting and counting.