It’s 5:00am. I went to bed around 11:00, after watching back-to-back episodes of Weeds, Season 2, an antidote to the politics we’re swimming in (29 more days…). Yesterday we went apple picking at Shelburne Orchards. Aviva’s birthday is this week.
Sometime in the middle of the night, Pearl appeared at my bedside without a word. She just got out of bed and padded silently into our room and stood there next to me. This was not the first time she came in our bed. But it definitely felt like her taking it to a whole new level, this not even calling out first. No My Sleep Mama Bed!!!!!!!!!! from across the hall. Just her little self, waiting for me to scoop her up in the complacency (or it is conspiracy?) of being half-asleep, of not having the energy to deal.
Around 3:00am, Aviva came in, coughing and snuffling and whimpering about a sore throat. She threw herself over me. I felt like one of those big giant body pillows that are so delicious when you are extremely pregnant. I lay there, between my daughters, wide awake now, my mind generating questions: Will I have to get a sitter? Should Aviva see the doctor? Does she feel hot? I thought about the clients I have today and which ones would be easy to reschedule. And what mother hasn’t done this, lay in bed awake, middle of the night, surrounded by kids asleep to varying degrees, wondering if she will have to rearrange her entire day in a few hours in order to stay home?
And then 4:00am came, and both girls wanted to get up. I squinted at the bright clockface across the room on my dresser and saw the time. No way, I thought, am I going downstairs with two kids at 4:00am. I went to pee and helped V blow her nose several times and got back into bed and put Pearl on top of me. When did she get so long? Two and a half this week. Can that be? Mercifully, Aviva fell back to sleep. Pearl, not so much. At 4:30, I acquiesced. She’s amazingly chipper this morning – easier at least than those days when she’s inexplicably raging, as if she’s still the colicky newborn, ready to explode at the least thing. No spread butter! No butter melt my toast! No stir my milk!!!!
Now, at 5:15am, I am sitting on the couch in my robe, writing while Pearl watches this god-awful “Mommy and Me” video we got at the library. She sings along, occasionally smashing her face up against mine affectionately. Greg and Aviva are fast asleep upstairs. Only our neighbor seems to be up – he and I often keep similar morning hours; I see his kitchen light and take some comfort. How the day will go, who can say? All I know is that this is real life these days, a concoction of exhaustion and aching body and gratitude and resistance and giving over. I am here, here I am, surrounded by my girls, all heavy breathing, all needing me in a way someday they won’t.