Laying on my side, I feel the cold hard tires of a bright yellow Ford truck creeping up the side of my head and over my ear. The fact that it has 'Mattel' stamped on its undercarriage and weighs as much as a small carrot, makes the odds of my survival favorable. I turn my neck and squint open my left eye to see my two year old son sitting at the top of my pillow. He greets me with a, "Hi, mom!". The special sound effects from the chest cold I have make my reply to him sound like an unintelligible combination of The Chipmunks and synthesized balloons deflating. I turn back over to reach for my cell phone and check the time. It is just after six in the morning, which explains why it is still dark and why I am trying to justify to myself grounding a toddler. The cell phone light is bright enough to pierce my soul and I consider actually bargaining with Heaven for a few more minutes of uninterrupted slumber.
I hear the first sounds of my two oldest girls moving into the bathroom from their room. They have a field trip today and they are up early, undoubtedly because of their excitement. My second two year old joins her twin at the top of my pillow, but not before pulling at every single root on my scalp by walking across my hair, and says, "Wate up , mommy! Waaaate up!". Moments later, Stinky Pete slides almost silently on to Shawn's empty side of the bed. A workday for the Department Of Defense starts early so I am left with my freckled red head laying in an outline of his dad's mattress indentation, eyes closed and smiling. The twins are rummaging through the drawers of the nightstand looking for some delightful treasure like lip balm, a marker, or, hoping for the motherlode, some gum. They rhythmically take turns pushing each other to the side with their hip to assert control of who will get their hands on any sort of treasure first.
At this point the girls are standing at my doorway urgently pleading with me to get up. They lecture me compassionately and slowly so that I understand their need to get to school because they don't want to miss their special field trip. I inform them that it is 6:13 and I am absolutely sure that there are no buses loading or yet en route to the Orchestra. I begin to pep talk myself out of bed with the promise that in sixteen short hours or so, I will sleep again. I am well aware, after years of parenting, that the mornings you are sick or extra tired, are the ones that usually begin the earliest. It's a proven rule.
The girls busy themselves making toast and scrambled eggs as I pull on my pants from the day before and throw on a t-shirt. I feel instant gratitude that they are able to be so independent. I brush through my hair in the dark and pull it in to a quick ponytail. Turning on the lights would just confirm that I am awake which is something I am not yet ready to do. Charlotte has found a Valentine's Day lollipop and is racing to get off the wrapper without taking her eyes off me. Her frantic unwrapping grows exponentially with each step closer to her I take. I immediately, in my head, begin cursing the lollipop company, candy in general, and myself for not hiding it better. Sam is in the hallway with a stray pencil drawing a small circle on the wall. I grab it with the stealth prowess only a mother develops from being yards away from her toddler and an uncapped Sharpie. I dress them, all the while listening to my daughter mourn the loss of her sugary companion. We make our way down the stairs. The twins are hungry and I am super excited to get started on the laundry pile sitting next to the washer.
After everyone is fed and lunches are put in backpacks, we are ready to walk out the door. Madeleine, with a Chief-of-Police-like furrowed brow, looks me over and says, "Mom, what is wrong with your hair?". I remember that I fell asleep damp headed last night but I reply, "I woke up too early. That's what's wrong with it." We make our way out the door to the car. I am barely stopped in front of the school when the doors fly open and the kids race out of the car. I enjoy a sentimental moment watching my crazy, amazing children shouting out spontaneous "I love you's" as they run to their classrooms. I feel a moment of mom pride that so far they seem to be surviving my parenting just fine and as I turn on my signal to make my way out from the school and head for home, I look down and realize I put my pants on inside out.
Trip of a Lifetime
1 year ago