I reluctantly pull one of my eyelids open to focus on the sweet, rumpled kid standing beside the bed.
There's no more milk, Mama.
It takes me a minute to remember that it's Sunday — the only day our family wakes without an alarm. I slide my foot across the bed to feel for my husband before also remembering that he said he'd be sneaking into work today. That's why she's standing at my side; normally, she would have gone to him.
I throw back the covers and shake off my sleep. A quick peek into the hallway tells me the big kids are still in bed. I envy them. I look down at my sidekick and come up with a plan.
I step into the room where the least grumpy sibling sleeps to let her know I'm going out and that she's in charge of her sister. Then I head into my closet and swap my pajamas for some leaving-the-house clothes. I can't remember the last time we've run out of milk — it was probably during the baby days. Now that the kids have their own commitments, we rely on schedules and organization. If we don't plan ahead when it comes to food (and everything else, really), chaos comes calling.
On my drive over, I make a quick decision to break the rules and pick up fast food instead of going to the grocery store for milk. I know we'll need to shop later to fill up for the week ahead, and I take my chances that my husband will add it on to his trip home from the office. This is the kind of breakfast that only happens on road trips, and I'm happy knowing it will surprise the kids.
By the time I pull back into the driveway, with hash browns and breakfast sandwiches, the rest of the house is up. I drop the needle on the turntable and take another satisfying gulp of my takeout coffee. For the rest of the day, we give ourselves over to the unstructured vibe we woke up to. I dance in and out of the rooms, getting things done that otherwise get forgotten. We are in every corner of the house, each of us doing what we want. It feels slow and cozy and the perfect way to appreciate the last days of a long winter.
With years of experience to back me up, I know a day without plans isn't one that's lost. Instead, it's welcome by all of us. I spend some of it reminding the kids to clean up the piles they leave everywhere. And I mentally push the laundry, homework, and actual meal prep to some later point in the day. There's a gentleness that comes with parenthood now. Much like my growing children, the restless mother in me has learned to be still.
I don't crave escape anymore; instead I hope to capture what's right in front of me. I want the moments we spend together to be simple and real, because I know they're running away from me now. I am certain it's these ordinary tick tocks of time that will measure the happiness of their childhood. Away from the world for the day, we can choose who we want to be and leave the hard stuff on the other side of the door.
We are each moving slowly. But still, we are moving together.
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The wonderfully comfortable, well-made romper (with pockets!) I'm wearing was purchased from Canadian clothier Wooly Doodle.
You'd love it as much as I do, I'm sure.