It was cold when I woke up at 4:00 am and reached for the blanket’s edge. I gave it a tug, but my sleeping husband rolled over and took the last available scrap with him, rolling up into a tight warm cocoon.
I went to the couch and got the red blanket that smells like kid feet and dog, and came back to bed and slept.
At 7:00, I was in the shower when the glass door opened and my naked 4-year-old stepped boldly into the warm water. “I decided to share with you, Mama,” she declared before muscling me into the lonely back corner.
I had to lean carefully to rinse my hair while also avoid getting the shampoo in her eyes. I decided the gymnastics required to share my legs while there was a preschooler playing on the floor of the shower wasn’t worth it. I left her playing happily in the falling water and the bubbles, and singing merrily to herself.
Everyone else had eaten by the time I finally got a moment for breakfast at 8:00. I scrambled two eggs and sliced an apple, and turned around to the plaintive eyes of my apparently starving 6-year-old who “already had cereal, but I didn’t know you were making eggs.” A chorus which was picked up by all of his still-at-home siblings.
A dozen eggs and all the apples later, I made do with a piece of toast, cold tea, half an egg, and the browning apple slices left on the children’s plates.
At 10:00, the smallest children’s lessons were over, and I sat down to work on a new book proposal, but my 12-year-old needed the laptop to skype with a friend in California, and the teenagers were using the desk-tops for research and novel writing.
I grabbed a notepad and headed out to the quiet of the rocking chair of the back porch, where the dog happily joined me and decided it was the perfect time to play ball.
At noon, my grilled cheese sandwich was appropriated by the ball-playing dog when I stopped eating long enough to escort the 4-year-old to the bathroom so she “wouldn’t get lost or eaten by monsters.” The bathroom hasn’t moved in the house where she’s lived her whole life, and we’ve not seen a single monster since the great uprising of 2014, but there’s no convincing some people.
We had to sing the monster-warding song and do the dance the whole way there, which is how the dog had time to sneak my sandwich from the plate on the table between two of my sons. They saw nothing, but asked for seconds as I made a sandwich to replace the one that was pilfered. I ended up with a sandwich made of two end pieces which are, apparently, kryptonite to anyone under the age of 40.
At 2:00 pm, I took advantage of a quiet moment to break out the previously unused Harry Potter coloring book which had been a gift from a friend, only to find every page had been decorated by my three youngest children, because they wanted to “make the book pretty for you, Mommy.”
I smiled wanly and colored the details around the purple skinned Hermione and orange Hedwig while the 4-year-old sang and finished coloring clown make-up on Ron.
By 4:00, I furtively checked where everyone was before searching my secret snack stash, and found only empty wrappers. “Are you serious?” my 15-year-old laughed, “We’ve known where you hide the good stuff for years. You were in Portland, and Dad only buys generic. We knew you loved us and wouldn’t mind.”
I went back to the couch and ate a bowl of baby carrots.
At 7:00, I was catching up on the episode of Jane the Virgin I’d missed while I was in Oregon, and my family came skidding in and plopped on the couch, and abruptly changed the channel to the newest Star Wars animated episode. (I’m sorry, I don’t know the name. I avoid kid shows like they carry the plague at this point in my life.) “Hey, Mom, is it okay if we watch this?” they asked after the channel was changed. “Yours is on Netflix, but ours won’t replay until Sunday.”
And since Jane the Virgin isn’t kid-appropriate, I ceded control of the remote and decided to be thankful that all six of them actually agreed on something.
At 8:00, a dear friend stopped by with a giant ice cream cone for me. “I just had a feeling that you could use this,” my own personal angel said to me. “I can’t stay, but enjoy your ice cream and call me tomorrow.”
I turned around to see my children creeping up on me like something out of the Night of the Living Dead. “Is that ice cream?” “Did she bring some for me?” “Can I have a lick?” “Don’t you want to share?”
And I most certainly did not want to share, so I wove my way through the advancing throng towards my bedroom where I could eat ice cream and watch my show on my laptop safely away from their guilt-inducing gazes.
As I closed the door behind me, I head my 9-year-old sigh “Mom’s kind of selfish. She doesn’t ever share anything good.”
And I laughed.
As I tried not to inhale the entire generous scoop of rainbow sherbet in one giant bite, I thought about how it was the first thing I hadn’t had to share all day. And while I was initially annoyed, I also remembered that there will be a day when there’s no one around to take over my shower, steal my blankets, borrow my shoes, and raid my secret stashes. There will come a day when I have everything I want all to myself, and on that day I’ll just want someone to share it with.
But that day is not today, and I ate that ice cream all by myself.
Photo Credit: By Ruth Hartnup from Vancouver, Canada (Rainbow sherbet ice cream) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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