The clock on the microwave read 7:23 am.

Three year old Juli, wearing bedhead and a night tee, walked up and whimpered “Somssing…hurt…me.”
She tried to crawl in my lap. Then stopped.

Dressed in a night shirt, I was rummaging around an overflowing laundry basket hunting pants for my 7 year old because she grew three feet overnight and the khaki pants she’d already selected were too tight. Jack, my scrawny 9 year old beanpole, was yelling that his blue jeans were missing the adjustable waist straps. So he too needed different pants. Caleb, the 5 year old, was begging for school snack while digging for ziplock bags in the pantry. From the top shelf. Somehow. At least he was dressed. The dog was whining to go out and pee. Thank God I don’t have to dress him too.

I was alone.
Funny how “alone” alone feels in a house filled with four kids, a pooch, and a hamster.

I glared at her.

She was in my way! She was taking up precious time! She was preventing us from getting ready for school! She always had to touch me! She never lets me get any work done! She was every reason we were going to be late, the kitchen wasn’t clean, the pants were missing, the bathroom needed scrubbing and toys lay scattered in the hall.

And….she’s only 3. She’s a sweet, tiny little piece of innocence in a mad, mad world we all love to hate on social media. She’s every potential hope we all have when we think about the future of society.

So I took a breath, stopped and pulled her into me.

“Hey mum mum” she whispered, snuggling into me.

So we sat there.
She and I.
And we snuggled.
And we breathed together.
And I rocked her like the baby she still is. She’s taken to rubbing my face lately so her hand went to my cheek for a brief moment. Then she snuggled deeper. She sighed. And I sang her special song to her. The one I made up the day she was born.

By 8 am, they were all settled in school. Dressed. On time. Everything worked out fine.

And it strikes me how differently this sweet memory from this morning could have played out.

Published by Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole is a freelance writer and social media specialist skilled in non-profit marketing and grass roots advertising. This mother of four weaves humor, emotion and depth into stories about parenthood and life in the American South.

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