Wednesday morning I wake and immediately know something is terribly wrong with my back. I can barely move. Not in itself unusual, especially when one wakes wedged between two hot boys, but this time it’s bad. It’s an old lower back injury, from a riding accident aged 13. It’s given me trouble all my life, from time to time, but usually I know what not to do and it’s rarely been this bad. Only twice before in fact. Once when I was 14 I couldn’t get out of bed and scared myself silly. That was the first time. Eventually I managed to crab crawl to the doctors down the road to be patronised and smugly laughed at, so I never went back. The last time was when my Dad died and I totally seized up two days before the funeral. I was getting on a bit by then (ten years ago) and riding his horse out every day, coupled with sleeping on the floor, probably wasn’t the best solution. And now this. I’m suddenly and acutely aware how vulnerable I am, on my own with 2 smalls. (These things prey on my mind occasionally and I wonder what on earth we would do if anything ever happened to me or to Pete.) In any case, here we are and I can barely get my clothes on, let alone go to the toilet or manage the stairs. But I do because I have to and I’m a mum and that’s how it works. I scream in pain and clutch the bannister when attempting to put Oscar’s shoes on and Alfie becomes my right hand man, manfully stepping up to dress his brother and pat me on the back, saying ‘don’t bend your back mum, stand up straight’. I cry. For all sorts of reasons. We are 20 minutes late to school because it takes me that long to negotiate getting in the car. For a long time I think I won’t be able to drive and cry with frustration. The kids HAVE to go to school! Mainly because I simply can’t deal with noise or movement around me and need space to deal with this unbearably frightening pain. Not only that I but I have to get myself to the emergency appointment at the physio – the rather brilliant Apex Clinic, who have seen me before for a neck injury (sigh). So I finally mange to sit and actually the car seat is the most comfortable space all day, it kind of envelops me and holds me up and if it weren’t so sodding cold I would sit in it all day. I push my foot on the brake for traction and realise I can drive, carefully, slowly, like an old lady, but we can go. Thank God.