I’m sitting at the kitchen table and there are 14 years worth of scratches and markers and crayons lived into these planks. There’s an empty teacup and the smell of dirty baby diaper in the air. Boys will be back soon from the skate park with their dad and I haven’t washed the pan I cooked the omelet in yet.
This is my real life.
The deck umbrella is folded up on the floor next to me and a pair of orange sneakers lies quiet at my feet. The husband’s. I have a toothache and a headache and a heartache when I think about the countdown of summers and how this one means that our oldest boy will turn eight.
The days feel so terribly slow. So terribly the same.
And then a kid is about to turn eight and I go downstairs to try and make sense of the laundry and remind myself that time is speeding up just when I’ve grown accustomed to it plodding along.
Motherhood feels a lot different than the baby books suggested.
There should have been an entire chapter on the boredom of board games. Or dishes. Or sweeping. Or unloading the dishwasher. Again. And then the next day.
Like sleep deprivation it’s hard to prepare for monotony.
So I sift through the moments with a make-believe microscope searching for the wonder hidden in plain sight.
Sometimes it comes soft and breathy, a baby girl whisper at 5am when I’m taking her potty and her curls are bent over so I’m not even sure I heard her say, “I wuv you, mama.”
Or the boy who leaps ferocious from his bunk bed and bends head over my hand to kiss it with passion and soft lips. The warm body I wake up to in the middle of the night, squeezing into his dad’s spot while his dad is away for work. One arm flung out backwards, chest rising and falling just like his father.
It’s all there. Once I blink the tired and temper out of my eyes, it’s all there. The glory of the ordinary day. How each one is unique even when it’s the same. Like these children of mine with their snowflake individual fingerprints or their laughter or how they like their spaghetti.
I sit at the table between the to-dos and let my mind count memories instead of lists. She just started sleeping through the night without a diaper, he helped his sister ride her first scooter, he pretended to be a waiter serving us all dinner. They sat and read their books to each other, he held the door open, she climbed into bed because she wanted to “snuggle-buggle.”
And tomorrow there will be more dishes and more bickering and also more memories waiting to be sifted and framed and stored in this heart that is as pock marked as the kitchen table.
Ordinary is outrageous the way it can take your breath away.
A quiet PS to offer grateful and amazed thanks to all who liked and shared my boring love story. It got picked up by the Huffington Post and you’re all to blame. In the best kind of way. So thank you. For reminding us all that love rarely looks like the movies. Mostly it’s so much better.