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Intermission over, the curtains raise. The mother enters.

Scene 3: Piano & Jumper Cables

Another night passes and we find the mother once again fixing breakfast in the kitchen. Boosted by the happy ending of her suspendered adventure of the previous day, her outlook is bright.

The work day commences and comes to a well-ordered end in time to make an early carpool arrival – ensuring a timely appearance for her daughter’s second piano lesson. In line for half an hour, with snacks prepared and resting thoughtfulness underway, she sketches and thinks and waits.

Rear View Mirror Doodle, ink on napkin

Rear View Mirror Doodle, ink on napkin

Ah, the cars crank and brake lights glow. Ready for the slow crawl around the corner towards the school, she turns the key. Tick tick tick – nothing.

tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick – nothing.

Nothing, Nothing, NOTHING!!!!!

It’s too much. It’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

With wide, glazing eyes she waves the moving carpool line around her unmoving car. She calls her husband and her mother and her stamina fails.

She cries.

She sits in carpool line and cries. Pitiful.

Knowing the eagerly awaited piano lesson will be missed, she sits deflated and calls the instructor. But wait! Cancellations have been made and another lesson time is available whenever the mother can get there! Saved from the tears of her daughter on top of her own, another surprise approaches.

A kind stranger, circling back, pulls in front and signals for the mother to pop the hood. With jumper cables and an understanding smile, with his bouncing daughter watching from the back seat, he starts her car! Again, the mother cries, but this time overwhelmed by the kindness of others.

The day is saved and the mother carries on.


Scene 4: Sanitized Lungs

Night falls and the tired mother sinks into the couch, a glass of wine and a heated blanket. Surely, surely, that’s enough fun for one week. With an inner pep-talk, she tells herself that tomorrow is Friday…just plain Friday. Work and done.

Morning comes and father is ill.

With little sympathy where there should be more, the groggy mother impatiently fusses at father for not taking his medicine. Upon further discussion over medicinal locations, and the lack of discovery, she exclaims in short-tempered exasperation “You’re a MAN!!!” and stomps to the shower. Poor father, getting the brunt of a bad week at 6:00am.

With a haggard disposition and weary eyes, she puts her head down and pushes through the day. A pendulum of kindness and frustration, she tries to regain her balance and clarity. She takes father to the doctor, with three silly kids bobbing and chattering behind her.



The diagnosis seems a cruel joke: severe flu and bronchitis.

Father is settled onto the couch, as quarantined as one can get in a small home of five people. The mother takes a deep, careful breath and puts on another metaphorical hat, dosing medication and spraying lots of Lysol. A spaghetti dinner and chicken noodle soup are readily provided by friends, and the mother continues to scurry back and forth around the house, tidying and germ-killing and care-taking.

Sitting at her desk in the quiet of an afternoon family rest, the mother reflects upon the strange, yet ordinary stories of a long, long week. There always seems to be a snag, a hole, a bump, a crash that must be navigated. She knows you can’t change it, you just have to take what comes and find some humor in each adventure. It helps her carry on and find a warm spot to rest at the end of the day.

Curtain closes.

“Maybe we do the right things, maybe we do the wrong, spending each day, wending our way along. But when we want to sing, we sing. When we want to dance, we dance. You can do your betting, we’re getting some fun out of life.” -Some Fun Out of Life, Madeleine Peyroux

Tired Tiara, charcoal sketch

Tired Artist with Tiara, charcoal sketch


Check out the previous installments:

Such is Life, Act 4 part 1

Such is Life, Act 1

Such is Life, Act 2

Such is Life, Act 3


One household, five members full

In fair Homewood, where we lay our scene

From busy morns break new delays

Where civil snags make civil mouths unclean

From forth the tragic flaws of these few days

A mother of three children takes the stage


The curtains raise, the mother enters

Scene 1: Uphill Both Ways

Rising early, she has the morning routine skillfully arranged to ready her family for a day of work and school. With father at work and car in the shop, her mother’s car sits in the cold, frost-tipped morning waiting to be warmed.

Children bundled and lunches packed, they prepare to load and buckle and drive.

With fogging breath, the mother discovers that the car seats and stroller have been mistakenly driven away to an early morning meeting. A few icy breaths worth of thoughts and the choice is clear. The cold walk to school, baby carried close, must begin.

Undeterred by this small flaw in an otherwise clockwork morning, she ignores it as a bad omen of things to come. Chattering away about the luck of living near school and the brisk, bracing exercise, she encourages her chilly people all the way to the school doors. With kisses for their cold noses, she sends them in and trudges back home to wait for the returned carseat.

Scene 2: The Red Suspenders

Through the day and a night and into the morning, we find the young mother pulling on striped pants and red suspenders. Circus Day has come again.

Let the audience remember that dreaded day past, when a costumed carload careened down the icy slopes of suburbia. When the mother, in the same red suspenders, clung tightly to the wheel as her children squealed and the tires slid on the incapacitating and unexpected Alabama snow.

With these memories in the forefront of her mind, and dismissing any fear of repetition, she observes her appearance in the bedroom mirror. Quite pleased with the ability to wear such garb in public – for Preschool Circus Day explains anything – she grabs her mug of coffee and wrenches open what frozen car doors she can, loading the children and heading to school.

Circus Day brings costumes and popcorn, cotton candy and laughter for hours at her little school, full of happy children. No snow, no ice.

Flat Tire View

Flat Tire View

At the end of the day, with lights off and doors locked, she installs her tu-tued baby in the car and pulls out of the lot. She notices the car jiggle a bit. Hmmm…. Continuing on, the jiggle worsens to a wobble. On a beautiful, scenic, sloping curve, the mother pulls off to assess the predicament.

Standing in the cold, in red shoes and red suspenders, she discovers a very flat tire. Finding refuge from the chill, she climbs back in the car, makes necessary rescue calls. She laughs, the baby plays, and they wait.

and wait. and wait. and wait.

Once the other children have been fetched from school, father arrives in answer to the distress call. As with most repairs, the tire changing encounters several troubles and delays. In one harrowing instance, the car rolls forward off the jack towards the sloping hillside, mother and baby still inside. With baby removed, the now-frozen clown-clad mother and helpful father continue to try and change the tire. In the background, one hears the older children arguing and the baby wreaking havoc in the car behind.

Spare tire on, car lowered, the mother sees that it too is half flat. With red suspenders, crossed fingers and slow driving, she makes it to the tire store. With children and father back home, the mother walks confidently into the store and explains the situation. In questionable attire and with her mother’s car, she is perhaps mistaken for a younger person rather than a weary adult, and the owner takes pity. Waiting in clown clothes, drawing a few looks, the mother is surprised to hear the owner say the tire is repaired “at no charge.”

Red Shoes & Linoleum, marker & colored pencil

Red Shoes & Linoleum, marker & colored pencil

The happy clown mother bounces into her mother’s car and home, just in the nick of time for her next adventure.

Curtains fall. Intermission begins.

The Red Suspenders, ink & colored pencil

The Red Suspenders, ink & colored pencil


Such is Life, Act 4: “An Ordinary Tragedy” part 2 to come…


Check out the previous installments:

Such is Life, Act 1

Such is Life, Act 2

Such is Life, Act 3