I have our morning routine planned down to the minute. I head up the stairs at 6:20 a.m. to wake Maddie and Katie and get them dressed.
Unless Katie refuses to get out of bed, turning her body into a limp noodle when I try to pick her up. Attempting to hide her smirk, she keeps her eyes closed tight against my pleas to wake up, Katiebug! I catch her peeking up at me and tickle her awake.
Unless Maddie gets a case of the sillies and decides to pretend she is a roly-poly. She rolls over to her sink to brush her teeth, then rolls over to the sock drawer to choose a pair of pink socks. Giggling the entire time, she ignores my pleas to hurry up, Maddie. She sees me stifle my own giggle and roly-polys into the hallway.
I have our morning routine planned down to the second. Girls dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed. We head downstairs for breakfast at exactly 6:50 a.m.
Unless Katie wants to check the weather out her bedroom window. I pick her up and we look. Katie wonders where is the sun, Mommy? I know we should hurry downstairs to eat, but she still fits so perfectly in my arms and her curly hair is tickling my face and she smells like fresh air just like Katie always does. So we stand and we look and we wonder about the sun.
Unless Maddie begs me to please put braids in her hair. I comb her long hair and I begin to braid. I know we don’t have time for braids, but I also know once I start braiding, she’ll start talking. She will tell me about her plans at school today and we will talk about friends and books and games and choosing kind. So I braid and we talk and she is happy.
I have our morning routine planned down to the smallest detail. We put on our shoes and coats at 7:15.
Unless Katie doesn’t like the pink shoes and wants the purple coat instead and tells me she can zip up the zipper all by herself. I tap my foot with impatience but then I still myself as I marvel at her independence. She is only three, yet she is filled with confidence. I watch as she shrugs her backpack onto her back and… well, I’ll be… she can do the zipper all by herself!
Unless Maddie is finishing her waffle but needs more syrup and more apples, too. I quickly grab the syrup when I hear Oops! and turn to watch Maddie’s cup of milk go crashing to the floor. Maddie looks at me with tears in her eyes and whispers I’m sorry, Mommy. I offer her a heartfelt smile and tell her it’s okay, accidents certainly happen. I sing as I clean up the spill and tell her don’t worry, sweetheart and she smiles back.
At 7:25 I drop them off at daycare and start my commute to work. I press play on my audio book, but I’m not really listening. I am lost in thought, remembering my conversation with Maddie as I braided her hair and Katie’s sweet scent as we wondered about the sun.