Daybreak

I know it’s morning, but I keep my eyes closed. I hear the shuffle of his footsteps on our mostly new carpet and then the shower comes on. Just two more minutes. I purse my lips because my muscles are tense and achy. I turn onto my back and take a few deep breaths and try to relax them, starting at my toes and working my way up to my head. As my body wakes, the pain intensifies. I sit with it for a moment. A small pity party ensues. I turn on my side.

I’m suddenly aware of the sound of rain. It’s pelting down on something hard. It’s dramatic yet calming. I realize I forgot to turn Emelia’s sound machine down last night. I open my eyes and see her feet up in the air. The screen goes light to dark to light again as her legs go up and down. She’s babbling. Lots of aghas and ahhs. She looks around her room in wonder, like she’s never seen it before.

Our room smells like Irish Spring soap.

“Morning,” he says, adjusting his tie. “Is she up?”

I smile and we both watch the screen for a while. She finds her yellow pacifier and tries to put it in her mouth. She misses and slurps loudly on her fingers.

He goes in and changes her diaper while I brush my teeth. I hear him talk to her and she squeals.

“Be good for momma today,” he says. He gives me a worried look.

I smile. “Hope you have a good day.”

He hands her to me. We kiss.

Emi runs her hand across my nose, cheeks and lips. She gets her fingers stuck in my hair and I try to remember the last time I washed it.

I put my hair up. We rock in the chair for a while. She kicks excitedly when I open and close my fingers in the air while singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” It’s her favorite. When the song is over, she looks up at me and smiles. She pats my chin.

After some time in her swing and another diaper change, it’s time for her nap. She wriggles around in my arms and buries her face in my shoulder. I close her blinds and walk her around the room. I sing “Jesus Loves Me” and feel her warm, milky breath against my neck.

“I love you,” I say, and put her in her crib.

There’s a glimpse of panic in her eyes. She holds my hand tight. I put her pacifier in her hands and guide it to her mouth. She goes cross eyed while she concentrates on it. It’s in her mouth. I give her a kiss and tip toe out of the room.

I think she’s asleep. The door creaks loudly when I start to pull it shut.

I freeze. No. Sleep. Sleep. Go back to sleep. She’s doesn’t move. Her hands are gripping her pacifier.

I let the dog out and look out the window. I consider going for a swim. The pain in my leg reminds me to take it easy. The Keurig gurgles and I take my warm mug to the office.

I look out the window and see a mom and a stroller full of twins. Her pajama pants are dragging on the concrete, and her shirt is a few sizes too large.

The leaves on our tree are green and plentiful, shaking in the breeze. I realize it’s August. Summer is almost gone.

I flip open my laptop and my fingers get to work. “I know it’s morning, but I keep my eyes closed.”

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