As soon as they are off the bus, we are off and running. Two girls chattering about every detail of their school day, unpacking book bags, homework, enforcing twenty minutes of reading with threats, all while preparing dinner, and serving it, which includes cutting two girls food into bite size pieces, and pouring drinks, and cleaning up spills, all jammed into a two hour span.
It gets a little hectic without David being home. I usually just get seated to eat with them, and despite my direction to "wait for everybody to be seated before eating" (read...me!)
I usually get in about one bite before having to get someone another serving of something, or clean up the baby's mess. It becomes overwhelming. And irritating.
Then it is showers, and getting ready for school tomorrow, and pajamas, and I have to do the dishes, and pots and pans, from dinner, all the while screaming directions and breaking up fights from my post at the kitchen sink. I lose my temper often. I hear just how unpleasant my tone is. I just want to get them home from school most days because I miss them, but when it is me alone, without David, my tag team partner, I just want to rush through it all, and get them into bed. I just want some quiet.
We wrap up our day watching something mindless on TV. It is quiet time, or it's supposed to be. I just want to finally sit. And really, I would like to say nothing most days. But last night....holy cow....Olivia was non-stop. Every detail of Extreme Home Makeover was discussed. Not only that, every commercial was re-enacted for me. I kept smiling that odd Mom smile that I know does not look like my regular smile. It sort of conveys how I feel some times." I love you, but I don't want to hear what your opinion of the new Swiffer commercial is." And if she began a sentence with "guess what????" one more time, I literally was going to cry. So, the odd smile stayed put. And I gazed at the clock, waiting for bedtime.
Maybe it is this stretch of Winter that makes me go batty every year. This odd time of cold days, and colder nights. Too much togetherness in my tiny house. Every cent so tightly budgeted gives us no wiggle room to do much as a family. We took the girls for a ride through Mountainhome on Saturday, and that was a ride riddled with complaints. "When are we going home?" I thought to myself, we can't go anywhere else, at least a car ride is a change of scenery. I didn't want to go home. We are always there. But, home we went. And home is where I have been. Waiting. And worrying.
Worrying if and when our foreclosure will carry on. Worried that this place that I call home, and is feeling more like a cell the last few weeks, will be no more. Like maybe the better days of our life are happening right now, and I am waiting in vain. Waiting for a time in our lives, that is happening now.
Living on borrowed time is easy to shove into the back of your mind when day to day life is happening. But as I long for Spring, I fear I am not being present in my here and now. Because isn't that all we really have?
David is working late again tonight. Today, I am thankful that he is. And today, I will wait for my girls to hop off the bus. And listen to them chatter to me. Happily. And I will wipe that odd smile off my face. Because the day might come that my girls might not want to share anything with me. And I will long to hear "guess what?" one more time. And the quiet of a home, maybe not this one, will become deafening.
I spend days waiting for the first bulbs of Spring to bloom, and imagine the trees outside of my windows green and lush with leaves, and my windows open, blowing in warm breezes.
But the Spring might not bring what I wish for.
I might be longing for this long cold stretch of Winter, and wanting to do it all over again.