What day is it? I’m thinking about the coming Saturday, when my kids tug me out of bed instead of a boisterous song on the radio. My alarm screams at me again. I shut it up. Something stirs; my daughter, the moonlight creeper, often claims the never-occupied half of my bed. Fear of waking my sleeping beauty next to me coerces my feet to the floor. Coffee is on auto. I keep the lights dim. I pray. This is my time.
Soon enough, I will turn the lights on. My son needs coaxing out of bed; I wake him first. My daughter will be happy to be woken. Her toddling steps, outstretched arms and wisp of a smile remind me of my faithfulness to fill my arms with her. My son is out of bed. Perhaps? Almost. In minutes, I will defuse my impatience with a high note in my voice “time to get out of bed, my son. It’s a beautiful day!” This is their time. I’ll feel guilty if their day doesn’t start with confidence in themselves with high expectations for goodness. Some days I am exposed as human and regretful of my reactions, and then remind myself how to make it right.
A few minutes sooner, I will begin to prepare three lives for three different directions, considering every possible need along the way. My son has swimming lessons… he’ll need an extra snack- I can’t forget the diapers for daycare… for the third day in a row. As the morning minutes fly I will style my hair and awaken my face, at their convenience.
My shoulders might ease if laundry was finished. I neglected the bathrooms last night and the fridge reminds me it needs defrosting. Noted; my overly ambitious undertakings of this evening. Assignments call more urgently than usual this morning, deadlines loom.
Dinner will need to be made; if I plan now the meat will be defrosted in time. When my children cook with me I become chef, guru and referee. Bedtime will come tonight- they had bath last night so… there will be extra time to play- Play dough? Except, more play dough needs to be made. That would be a project… but I have essays to write and social activities to think up. Textbook chapters don’t read themselves and assignments weigh on my mind… is there any more coffee?
Soon, I will leave the kids at daycare with a desperate kiss of my love and maybe some separation cuddles. I breathe easy leaving daycare those days when my daughter finds a consolable distraction. Other days, her tortured eyes and red face portray the betrayal of captivity against her will. This will occupy my mind as I tussle some self-serving drivers on the for-profit commute.
Soon, I expect my world to shift from congenial regard for my little things, to degrees of studentship uncertainty. It’s still dim, and my professional expectations taunt me as I prepare my alter-ego for triumph. I was asked once by someone, when discussing my professional endeavors, “so, who takes care of your kids?” I answered, a little stunned, “well, I do”. Disguised as friendly enough, the question had a poised stipulation to my role as mother. I understand… a generation trusted family normalization to teach values for a productive adult life; mom should stay home with her kids for the best possible life for her children. I also trust family values…
Soon, when the lights go on, my children will reach out to me first. I will coax my son to responsibility, for lunch and homework. My daughter prefers to practice her potty training strategies in my bathroom. My patience remains thin with remarkable elasticity. I foresee the needs of their day- for extra layers of clothing or school fees, diapers or extra quality time. I seek quality time with my son who values our relationship; I have a sensitive touch on his self-worth. My son’s hard days come home and I adjust my expectations. I track my daughter`s early development with the eye of a trained theoretical professional. I switch roles on a dime and juggle destruction when my two worlds collide. When I wish to linger at professional functions and socialize, my children come first; I must pick them up on time rather than explore my curiosities. Personal fulfillment seems decades away.
I expect my work will insistently poke at me tonight, but first I will read about how Little Quack was brave enough to swim. I will say prayers and tuck blankets around contented bodies. I will sigh another prayer and turn the lights dim. And then, look to myself for a grip of motivation to acknowledge late night work; I’ll just start from the top of pile.
I would be negligent not to wonder who cares for my children. I role model cooperation, and instill values of civil respect and personal virtue. I soak in every minute of my two-year-olds intense growth and willful grip on her world. I laugh at my son’s jokes, as if I have never heard that one before. My children know they are wonderful and capable. My ears are always tuned to the sound of whimper-turned-wail. I will anticipate little feet on the stairs, ready to give some attention and nurturance to whichever aspiring eyes look to me. They value each other, and adore me. My heart gurgles a little when I watch them play together and see how much they love each other. I am both mother and professional. We are thriving. Life is never ending and always beginning. And we feel no loss, but only gain; as we gain the promised restoration of what the locus have eaten.
Now, my second cup of coffee is cold and it`s time to get a little serious with my son about getting out of bed, then patiently struggle-assist my daughter to dress. In moments like this I’m faithful to remember, how time and grace await.