Jack bounces out of bed and climbs upstairs to wake Ella who is already sitting on the side of her bed rubbing the sleep from her eyes. I hobble up the steps as fast as I can to keep anyone from going back to sleep or eating any leggos. After we pick clothes, we all rumble back down to the dining room and eat cereal in various dampnesses while I sip instant coffee. Everyone is officially UP and I lament running on five hours of sleep. I am a notorious insomniac. While we wait by the window for the neighbor to pick Ella up for school, I peel the tape off my knee and we all peer at the scar underneath. Ella asks me if I am all right and I say the truth, "No it hurts, and it's going to hurt for a while, while it heals." Then her ride is here and she is off to school. She is bursting about her first Girl Scout meeting and I can hear her already telling everyone in the carpool it is tonight.
Jack sits down in the living room ready to watch his favorite show while working at peeling the tabs on his diaper. I finally help him and upon feeling the open air on his hind side, he takes off running through the kitchen. He makes six or seven giggling laps around the island before he comes back to the living room dancing to the music from the television. I turn towards the computer to see if I have any e-mail and turn the volume up on NPR. I tune in WNIJ, because I like to hear the news and the voices from Illinois, the same people that have told me things every morning of my adult life, it makes me feel stable. I hear water hitting the floor behind me and remember Jack isn't wearing anything on his bottom half. I grab a paper towel, wipe up the little puddle and explain to my son again, that if he has to pee he should go to the potty in the bathroom. He seems to be telling me something, perhaps explaining his reluctance, but I don't speak seventeen month old as fluidly as I'd like so I just nod and say, "I see."
He runs to the kitchen and pulls on the refrigerator handles telling me he's ready for something more exciting than dry cereal. I open the door for him and he peruses the eye level shelf where I keep all the Jack friendly foods. He hands me a small crate of blueberries and an avocado. "Good choice" I say and cut a slice of avocado into little squares and put them next to the berries on a plate. While he munches, I get my bagel out of the toaster and spread butter on it. I think; butter in Texas spreads so easily, you don't have to fight with it like you do in Illinois. Up north the butter is never warm enough to spread and you are trying to shave a millimeter from the top so you can put a thin curl of it on you toast to melt and you have to do it while the toast is still warm, so there's a time factor. If you say, screw it and get a solid square from the end you end up with big divots in your toast as you try to drag the chunk across your breakfast. This must be why that southern lady, on television, likes butter so much; she never had to fight with it in the morning.
I wonder how long it will take before I stop comparing here and there when a quiet knock at the door drags me from my thoughts. The neighbor lady I like so much is standing there with a Starbucks in her hand. I say "Come on in" and she says she doesn't have time, but she was having a tough morning and stopped for coffee for herself and thought I should get a fancy coffee too. She hands me a mocha and smiles. I tell myself again, I must do something amazing for their family on Christmas. I'm not sure what, as she out housewives me on a regular basis, so I consider doing a small painting of their house. She compliments my pajamas and I become hyper aware of the fact that I only seem to see people around here when I have no bra on. I thank her and say we should go to lunch sometimes soon, again vowing in my head to buy lunch for her and she agrees we should go sometime soon.
Next, I'll get dressed and drive to my physical therapy appointment. I'm hoping there will be a nap after, in which Jack and I snuggle up into a tight knot of chubby limbs and soft curls. I'll lie perfectly still trying to will Jack to sleep while he squirms and kicks and fights off missing a minute of the waking world. When his blinks get longer and longer, I'll know it's alright to drift off. But first I'll set my alarm for 2:30 to ensure I don't miss picking the children up from school, knowing Jack always wakes me far before the alarm does.