In the morning, every morning, I feel a thrill of anticipation about meeting my girls again. The thrill is delicious, and so are their cheeks.
My body is heavy and I move slowly, and I would give just about anything to be back in bed, but as I move from room to room, I notice things. Things that were there the night before but I see anew in the morning light and I am thankful: Thank you for this house, thank you for the heat, and for running water. Thank you for a kitchen close by. Thank you for food in the fridge.
Breakfast is always rushed, which pains me, and sometimes I hear myself impatient with the girls, which really makes me want to crawl back into bed and snuggle all of us back into slumber. But there is Lola, so happy with her morning meal, and Sloane, so big and capable of getting dressed all by herself. I beam at them. They smile back through rumpled hair and sleepy eyes.
Sometimes work is busy and stressful, sometimes it provides a space to think. These days work is about connecting with co-workers over a project, and most days I feel proud of the work because I work hard.
Coming home is a mixture of relief and also anxiety because I want to fit in so many things before the end of the day. A joyful reunion with the girls, and then conversation over dinner. Somedays it is a picnic outside, other days it's a haze and all I have left is leftover energy from a long day. And these are moments when I truly feel like I may not be cut out for this parenting thing. There is whining, there is clinging hands that won't let me go to the bathroom and I'm sure that I have long passed the end of my rope. And then with one phrase; one look at me, one touch on my arm, and I'm a puddle, overfilling with the most tenderness and love and gratitude
My husband comes through the door; and I blink, trying to see him through the kaleidoscope vision that is the busy. I've missed him throughout the day but I have to blink a couple of times past the 'did you take out the dog' and past the 'another adult' to the loving 'oh, my dear friend.'
I gaze at the girls while they eat. I gaze at them while they read together, in the bath, in my arms. Heavy warm solid sleep baby in my arms. The baby that was so active and energetic before, now sleepy and warm. The baby that is slowly leaving her babyhood behind.
I am so grateful for the extra bit of light we have at the end of each day now. We move slower to put the older one to bed, most days we drink tea together just her and me, and there are extra cuddles and check-ins.
After they are both asleep, Ken and I tell stories to each other. Time sprints forward at a terrific speed as I plow through the end of a day and all the small tasks that keep this ship running. Sometimes I also fit in a read, or some writing. Sometimes I get to work out. We power down, sometimes together, sometimes apart. Always ending up back in the same place that we begin the day, in the cove of our bed, a haven for exhaustion, a fort for sharing stories.
I'm filled with longing. I am so deeply content. The depth of exhaustion deepens the gratitude for rest.