The alarm buzzes, and I know that another new day as begun. I lay there in the bed waiting for my husband to turn it off and get up. He does, and I look at the clock, and know I have a few minutes. He goes into the bathroom and leaves the door cracked so I won’t go back to sleep. It’s just another morning. “5:55am – I better get up so that I have time to make the lunches I forgot to make last night,” I think to myself. I wearily climb out of bed and then use the restroom. I make sure all the doors to the bathroom are now closed for my hubby and walk to the kitchen, seeing that the light up the stairs to the children’s bedrooms is already on. “Hmm,” I think, “who turned it on?”
I grab the turkey, the cheese, and the bread, and sandwich boxes and begin assembling the sandwiches for the kids lunches. Elijah appears and I hug him. Once the sandwiches are made, I pack them safely in the sandwich box and then the lunch box. Then I decide on sides: today it will be a banana and fruit snacks with juice in a sippy cup. Now I make the sippies, which only a certain one will do because they are in 1st and K after all. Then I need to think about what they will take for snack.
Daniel comes in and takes the toaster strudels out of the freezer. He’s proud he’s bought them something new to have for breakfast. He puts them in the toaster. He says, “Oh, you get to frost them yourself.” “Yes,” I say, surprised that he does not know this. “You’ve never had a toaster strudel?” “No,” he says. I tell him he will have to toast them twice in the toaster oven in order for them not to be cold or frozen in the middle. “Where is Annabelle?” he asks. “Still in bed. Elijah came down on his own,” I say. “Oh, I went upstairs and nudged them before I got into the shower,” he says. “This explains the mystery of the stair light,” I think to myself.
By this time, I’ve decided on graham cracker squares for a snack with water or juice. I’ve put them into washable baggies and I’m not quite finished assembling the drink cups, but see that it is 6:10 so I head upstairs to help my oldest out of bed. I’ve already begun the second toast of the strudels. To my surprise, she is getting up on her own, and she looks dazed and confused. I ask her if she wants to dress here in her room or downstairs. She gives me no reply nor does she even look my way, but she clearly decides to dress there as she begins to cast her night clothes off. I am there to help ease the new clothes on while she is still waking.
We walk down the stairs and I tell her she can sit at the table for breakfast. She does. Daniel turns the toaster off, and I frost the strudels. I call Elijah and the kids eat breakfast. I finish the snack making and begin to place snack and lunches in the backpacks. As I do, I remind Annabelle to drink from her water bottle. It’s been coming home full, and I know this is not good for her body. She begins the groaning and mumbling that is now common, and though I plead with her gently to tell me what is wrong, she does not. She tells me I would not understand. I tell her that I will not unless she explains it, but still nothing. I go to write her teacher a note about it. In doing so, I see she’s written a note to Santa,
Dear Santa I don’t wont inte (with a line over the e and double underlined) presins this year. Thak you! P.S. it is bekaus I have enuf stuf. xoxoxoxo to everone.
I start to ask her about it hoping to deflect conversation to something different and have her open up. Daniel shakes his head no. I stop. I brush Elijah’s hair. Then I go to brush hers as she finishes eating. I do this gently because it is usually the hair that allows the built up pressure of perfection within to explode ugly all over me. Though she complains she does not explode. The kids and I gather in the living room. They put shoes on, and I pray over them. I pray specifically for her. My heart aches and the words feel small and inadequate, not enough to stir God to move in her, but I pray them nonetheless believing that He is bigger than my words.
They stand at the door and wait for the bus. Daniel walks outside with them since I have not even dressed yet. Instead of watching from the window, I sit at the couch. The bus comes; I hear it beep and see the lights flash. I don’t get up. They don’t wave to me this year, and since I’m never dressed, there is this distance I feel from their parting. Daniel walks in and says, “I got them to wave. I kept looking for you in the window.” For the first time since school has started, I cry. I break. Tiny tears fall down my face as I think of all the drama we’ve undergone since school has started. I do not feel strong this morning. Daniel hugs me and worries over my watery eyes. He is regretful to leave, but work he must.