I was at peace.
Floating almost…in a tranquil silent world..somewhere.
I could feel the warm sun around me and somewhere in the distance I even thought I heard birds chirping.
Suddenly my eyes blinked open and I was shocked to find myself in my
Where was I?
The clock read 6:37am.
Was it real? Was this a dream? Where were the screaming children that woke me from my vegetative state each morning instead of that blaring alarm clock I haven’t seen since my old working days? I leaned back on the pillow and tried to sort it all out.
It was early.
They must be still asleep.
Should I go back to sleep? Should I wash something? Clean something? Read one of the zillion books I can’t stop buying, hoping one day I’ll have time to read them?
I lay there in bed and for the first time since grammar school, I stared at the ceiling. It was white. Clean. Perfect. Boring. But at this moment, “boring” looked oddly comforting.
“You’re up early…” My husband, Brad, walked into the room dressed for work and suddenly stopped to stare at me, “What’re you doing?”
“Staring at the ceiling…”
“When’s the last time you had time to stare at the ceiling?”
“Why?!” my husband panicked looking up, “Is something wrong with it?”
I laughed, “Never mind.”
Brad kissed my forehead and headed for the door.
I got up, did my usual washing, brushing and dressing before heading down the stairs, still amazed at the silence in my own home. Was this what it was like for single people? Did they enjoy the silence or did they get so used to it, whenever it was quiet they had to turn on music or the TV so they wouldn’t feel lonely?
Once in the kitchen, I did something I’d never done before, I set the table for breakfast. Plates, napkins, forks, and even syrup saucers for dipping. Then
I poured three glasses of milk and put them back in the fridge to keep cool. I set out the cookware, scrambled four eggs in a bowl and threw sausages into a pan.
“Hello, Martha Stewart,” I said, content as I admired my handiwork. It was 7:15am. What do I do now? What would Martha do? Plan tonight’s dinner menu? Bake a cake? Weed her garden?
Forget it. I headed to the couch.
That’s when I thought about friends I used to see every day – Matt, Katy and Al. They were my greatest friends when my babies were little. True friends, who never minded when I was half naked, covered in barf or distracted from what they were saying. I clicked on the TV to see my old friends, Katy now replaced by a new, younger girl.
That’s when an alarm clock blared.
One child up guarantees the other up in seconds.
I bid adieu to the “Today Show” and clicked off the TV annoyed by the fact we pay for premium channels no one watches.
I got off the couch and headed for the kitchen and found nineteen-month-old Meg, hanging onto the open freezer door shouting, “Ahh Eee! Ahh, Eee!”
“Breakfast first then ice cream…” I swooped her away as the screaming escalated, “Ahhh Eee!!”
“Good morning Ty…” my five-year-old son crumbled to the floor in a mound of flesh as he complained he was so hungry he couldn’t walk.
“Alright! Sit down, everyone, let me get these eggs cooked and to the table.”
Meg, still screaming, “Ahh Eee,” clung to my legs as Ty yelled at my feet, “OW! My stomach is starving!”
They’d been awake two and a half minutes and my peaceful world had jolted to a stop. Gone was the quite; in was the stress. I wondered how other moms prepare meals without tossing all the dishes in the sink declaring, “I quit.”
Once the eggs were done, I carried everyone to the table, kid in one arm, milk and plate in the other. I ran back to grab the sausages and brought them to the table thrilled at myself for being so prepared this morning.
“I need another fork!” Yelled the child physically unable to eat two food items with the same utensil.
Without an argument, I retrieved another fork and as I went to get more butter, he broke down in tears, “This fork is too big! I need another fork!”
Resisting the urge to ask, “Whose child are you?” and “Why are you in my house?” I quietly told him to get his own fork and picked up mine for the first time.
“Hot!” yelled Meg as her hands went into the air followed by that high pitched whining noise mom’s just love to hear.
That’s when Ty’s milk spilled.
“Uh-oh,” Meg was distracted from the pain in her fingers.
“Sorry mom,” Ty said.
“Just sit down and eat.”
I wiped the milk in silence until Ty screamed, “Ewwww! My eggs are wiggly…”
“I can’t eat eggs that move!”
I couldn’t get mad, specially knowing last weekend my own mom told him that when I was little, I refused to eat ‘wiggly’ eggs, too.
“Please, Ty, just eat the sausages,” I said.
“Nooo, they’re cold. Can I just have cereal?”
Without talking I poured Ty a bowl of cereal, added milk, then sat back down and looked at my eggs.
Why is everything I eat always cold? My eggs looked so arctic they had mini icicles growing on them.
“Ahh Eee!” Meg was back.
“Mom, I’m not hungry…” Ty pushed his plate away and asked to be excused.
“Go…” I told him.
Meg pointed to go with him and I let her follow, sitting alone at the table covered in wiggly eggs, syrup and sticky milk puddles.
I thought about those thirty minutes of quiet I had earlier that morning as I watched Meg laughing at Ty pretending to be attacked by Elmo.
I smiled at the sight of them playing together.
Would I trade them for years of quiet every day? Never! But, it was tempting…and oh so fun to pretend!