She’s sick, curled up on the couch with a blanket and a few of her favourite stuffed animals. I bring drinks and food, the cat, funny stories, funny voices (for the stuffed animals), tissues, medicine and, above all, myself. I sit and stroke her hair, read aloud from her favourite book, play a gam of Spot It (a stupendous game if ever there was one), retrieve the cat, bring the iPad, fetch another glass of water, and generally do all the things one does when one’s daughter is home sick from school and feeling miserable.
And in the back of my mind I picture a chapter edited, a journal paper read, a topic researched, a brilliant idea put down on paper, knowing full well that even had I had the time it’s unlikely all this would have happened. Because it never does, does it.
But now that I can’t do any of it I am convinced I could have, if only I’d had the chance.