I never awaken on my own. I’m usually smack dab in the middle of some amazing dream when a little person whose feet are in my ribs begins to stir and repeatedly request “muck”, the translation of milk in baby talk. Staggering out of bed with my daughter in my arms, leaving my dream of lottery winning or beach lying behind forever, I put aside all my needs, never considering even a trip to the bathroom, to satisfy hers instead. Because that’s what mothers do.
Eventually, I manage a cup of coffee or two, breakfast consists of oatmeal with brown sugar and milk, while a well-worn DVD of Sesame Street or Barney provides the background noise. I sing along and speak the lines by memory knowing I could recite the entire episode better than a 7th grader reciting the Preamble to the Constitution in History class. Repetition will do that.
Our outdoor surroundings are breathtakingly relaxing and outside time is a must even on cooler days. We’re surrounded by trees, pines, hummingbirds, deer, and birds of all colors. So Emma and I spend our time in the backyard with our dogs, chickens, slide, and sandbox soaking up Vitamin D. My girl toddles around exploring the ins and outs of pine needles, rocks, dog water, and sticks and I use this opportunity to read a short story or a chapter in a book. I might take my notebook and colored pen out and attempt a little short story of my own. But my mind gets weighed down with my character or the conflict that needs to surround him, the voice of inadequateness drowns out the voice of creativeness until I seek refuge in facebook or a round of Words with Friends on my phone. Eventually I become distracted enough with technology that I don’t even notice when my fictional character sneaks away and drowns in the river next to our house.
Lunchtime comes and goes, a cuisine suited to a toddler palette: noodles, goldfish crackers, bananas and the like. A yawn or sometimes a one year old frenzy indicates naptime so we shake the sand from our shoes and climb into an unmade bed for an afternoon nap. She wallers and hums. I pat and sing, and eventually she dozes off. I then sneak out of bed and quietly bottle around the house doing odds and ends; housework, exercise, more reading or occasionally I may be so bold as to nap with her.
During late afternoon, we pack up and head to the Middle School to pick up my niece Ash from school, then it’s back home for more of the same. Usually after it’s too late, I realize I didn’t plan anything for supper. This realization throws me into a maddening search on the internet for a recipe consisting of tomato sauce and salmon.
My husband returns from work, and the evening passes as all other evenings in American households. Supper, dishes, baths, and bed.
Once a week we join a playgroup and two days later we visit the library where I engage in adult conversation, usually about kids.
I spend most of my day on a toddler level. I sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, I read Goodnight Moon, I blow bubbles, mold homemade play dough, hold hands while climbing steps, clean noses, wipe butts, give hugs and kisses and receive as many back, wash high chairs, cook spaghetti, step on hair clips abandoned on the ground, wipe crayon off the wooden floor, wash sticky hands and faces, and wipe tears.
Through it all, I dream of writing.
Some days I wonder if this is all there is. I am in the trenches of motherhood. Stay at home motherhood. There are times I feel very purposeless, unimportant. Cooking and cleaning is my existence. But deep in my soul, I know there is no greater purpose for me than this girl named Emma, whose hair hangs in her eyes, whose nose wrinkles when she grins. I am the most important person to her right now. I won’t always be. This time is numbered, and I’m doing my best to make it count. For both of us.
This entry is #12 on the list of 30 things. Describe a typical day.