I woke up early this morning. Much earlier than everyone else. As my husband and kids continued to slumber and dream, I crept downstairs to start my day.
I exercised in the dark living room, using the glow of the TV as my only source of light. When I was sweaty and sore, I opened up the blinds to let the first rays of sunlight stream in the windows. I turned on the coffee pot and crept upstairs to shower. I soaked up the peace and quiet as I came back downstairs to get ready. I enjoyed my coffee, and carried it with me from task to task. Hair combed, make-up on, I sat down with the last remaing sips to write my grocery list. With the light of the day now pouring in the windows, I put on my gym shoes and snuck out to the grocery store. It was quiet and calm, and I felt thankful.
Typically, I grocery shop on Friday nights amongst crowds of tired moms and anxious people getting ready for their weekend dinners. I usually shop with Maddie and Katie in tow, promising them a cookie if they’ll just stay seated in the cart for five more minutes. Not this morning, though. This morning I shopped in a practically empty grocery store, just me and my thoughts. There was no winding my way through crowded aisles, no pleading with bored kids to sit still. I lingered over the apples a while longer than usual, I read the ingredients and labels more carefully, and I strolled down the holiday aisle with thoughts of the Easter Bunny in my mind. It was quiet and calm, and I was thankful.
Carrying the bags, I opened the door of our house. I stepped over puzzle pieces scattered across the kitchen floor to set down my purse. Half-eaten bananas littered the table, a sippy cup of juice teetered precariously on the edge of the counter, and two messy-haired, pajama-clad little girls clambered over for a hug. “Mommy!” they yelled as a trail of crumbs followed them over to me.
As I write this now, it is not quiet and it is not calm. Maddie is perched next to me, asking when it will be her turn to use the computer. I only see Katie now and again when she flits through the kitchen, as she is busy taking care of her baby dolls. I can’t always see her, but I can sure hear her. “My ba-bee! My ba-bee!”, she exclaims. Crayons and doll strollers and Barbie dolls sprinkle the floor. The breakfast dishes are thrown in the sink, and I don’t think anybody has yet picked up the teetering sippy cup. My husband is fixing, hammering, and slamming something or another in the basement, and the movie Frozen plays unwatched in the living room. I’ve been interrupted no less than 15 times as I try to get these words on paper.
It is not quiet or calm, and I am so thankful.