My mom babysits the girls at our house two days each week. On those mornings, I don’t have to wake my sleeping beauties as the sun starts to rise. I don’t have to make anybody except myself breakfast. I don’t have to holler out reminders to get your shoes on. Instead, I am able to say a hushed goodbye to my mom and slip out the door in the quiet of the morning.
Every now and again, though, Katie wakes up before I leave. On those mornings, Katie suddenly appears holding her blankie and her beloved monkey. Her pajamas are wrinkled from a good night’s sleep, and her hair is a tangled mess. Her eyes are still sleepy, but her smile is fully awake.
“Good morning, Mommy,” Katie says as she snuggles into my arms. “I’m the err-wee bird.”
“Good morning, Katie,” I answer with a hug. “Yes, you are the early bird today.”
On these mornings, the usually hushed tone is soon broken by Katie’s excitement at being the early bird. Finally, she gets to speak without getting interrupted or corrected by Maddie! She is animated and loud as she recounts our weekend adventures for my mom. I pour my coffee, smiling at the sound of Katie’s voice. I steal another glance at Katie sitting happily on my mom’s lap, and I can’t decide which of them looks more enamored with the other. I think to myself we are so blessed before I shrug my jacket onto my shoulders and announce my departure.
“Have a great day, Katiebug. I’ll see you after work.”
“But I will miss you,” Katie says with a twinkle of mischief in her eye.
“Oh, I will miss you, too,” I say as I walk across the kitchen for one last hug. “Bye, sweetheart.”
“Bye, Mommy. I yub you.”
Although I do enjoy those quiet mornings when I slip out the door unnoticed, I also love these mornings when my Katie rises before I leave. I carry her words with me. I yub you, always on the edge of my consciousness.
I yub you, too, Katiebug. So much.