It’s seven a.m. and I’m faced with a dilemma. To eat or not to eat. I roll of the bed and start moving around. I look at the clock and it’s suddenly 7:18 a.m. I accomplish nothing important in eighteen minutes.
I’m thinking again, do I have a cup of coffee or do I risk a dizzy spell and get my preschooler to school early. I could never be one of those sprightly morning people, yet I do love getting things done early. My day seems to fit better.
I decide against the coffee before school drop off, and wake my four year old. I duck into the kitchen to warm milk for the baby before I wake her up. It saves me some wailing if it’s ready and waiting when she wakes up. I walk back into the kids’ bedroom and my firstborn is still fast asleep, ignoring my soft voice telling her it’s time to get ready for school.
I’m astonished that I’m not yet falling apart as I’ve had about three hours rest the night before. The younger child is totally unpredictable and it often weighs on my sanity. My body is moving around briskly and efficiently this morning, and I don’t want to think too hard of it in fear I jinx myself.
Twenty minutes until we leave the house and one child is half ready. My stomach isn’t churning which I’m grateful for and I have the energy of someone two hours before bedtime.
I’m usually perspiring at this time and tend to under-dress even though it’s below zero outside. It’s a windy morning and I don’t wear any extra clothing underneath my coat. I load everyone up in the double stroller and proceed to the preschool which stands a couple blocks from our house. I skid quite a bit this morning. Four days ago we had a snow day and as per usual, the lackadaisical residents of my city don’t shovel snow the way it’s suppose to be shoveled.
My hand is both numb and burning from the iciness in the air. The baby starts crying as the icy wind cuts into her delicate face and hands. I’ve tried to keep gloves on her but to no avail, she keeps ripping them off. Most days I don’t realize because I’m focused on the journey to and from school.
There’s four flights of stairs to climb, with a twenty-five pound toddler on one arm. I sigh and curse the day I signed my child up for this school. There is an elevator, which is only used for kitchen services. Humans with their own free will still take it, as do I on days that I physically can’t make the stairs. But there’s a woman at the school, a villain in my day. I dread running into her because I sometimes wish to use the elevator but she flies into my face and it reminds me of a bat opening it’s wings. Then she spews her venom and accuse me of not understanding a basic sign in English.
I want to retaliate in my best vocabulary and irritated tone but I decide against arguing with fools in a children’s environment. She isn’t worth my effort, especially when it’s taking me all of my will power and physicality to stay standing at this point. I hurriedly lead my child to her classroom and want to shout, “Yay!” Half of the hassle is over with. Now to descend those vicious stairs in which I fear my toddler will catapult into the air.
I huff and I puff and make my way down the stairs with my wriggling toddler sitting on my burning forearm. I can feel the heat emanating from my body and being trapped beneath my jacket. My hairline is slightly drenched and I wish to be out in the open where it’s cold. The heat of my body makes me want to pass out.
When I open the door to exit the school, the biting coldness makes it’s way through my skull and my brain stops for a split second. My eyes can’t focus on any one thing for too long. I tell myself, one way home, no detours. Coffee, breakfast and medicines.
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