One child leaves at 7, one at 8, one at 9. The last one doesn’t leave at all. The same ritual three times. Breakfast, read a scripture, pack a lunch, ask them if they brushed their teeth. They smile. “That’s not an answer,” I say. Their shoulders droop and they go back into the bathroom. Look for lost items, shoes, instruments, backpacks, ask them to clean their room. I start the dishes, do hair, read a book to the baby, go back to the dishes, play a game with a child done early, sweep the floor. Then they are gone.
Most days I am up at 5:30, not ready to leave the house until 10. Home for naps and lunch by noon. First child is home by 2:15. Snack, chat, homework, practice, play. Repeat at 3:30. My day a compilation of interrupted one hour increments. Can I streamline it? I wonder, My soul, resentful of the repetition.
At dinner, they are all there. Talking over each other, singing, jumping up to go on the rings, sitting back down when I remind them to ask to be excused. I look at Justin, take a deep breathe and smile. “Bed time?” I mouth.
And I am grateful for the schedule that is.