I’m not a morning person. At all. Life forces me out of bed early, though I do spend every last minute I can absorbing the warmth of my sheets while Steve’s shower steam seeps out of the bathroom and fogs up our bedroom windows.
Sleepy, every morning. Then again at noon, when the kids drift during their nap, I often close my eyes on the couch.
My mom worries I’m not eating enough. Just have a sandwich, Kaitlyn, she insists, Bread is not bad for you. I don’t think that bread is bad. But I do eat enough and am left wondering why I’m always so damned tired.
I forgot to renew my prescription for the birth control pill this month and ended up starting it five days late. Don’t fuck around, Steve told me, You know it will happen if you fuck around. I finally got them yesterday, tipping my head back and swallowing with a mouthful of water. No babies here.
I looked at myself in the rear-view mirror yesterday as I sat in the car. Touched the dark skin under my eyes, the line between my brows, lifted my chin and examined the permanent lines in my neck. Lowered my sun glasses, ran some gloss over my lips and took my mother’s advice to smile. And made a mental note to wear a touch of makeup a little more frequently.
How do others seem me? Do they see the sincere smile on my face after a race or the happiness in my eyes when I look at my children? Or do they see the tired mother who feels anything but young some days? Do I let myself feel old too often? When I’m an old woman surrounded by grown children and hopefully grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren, will I wonder why I spent so many years worrying about the wrinkles that were yet to come or the five new freckles on my toes?
As I cleaned this morning, I tucked away toys and folded sheets and made beds and switched wet clothes over to the dryer.
My life feels like a constant buzz, background noise provided by young children, trips to the grocery store, the dentist, the doctor. Day visits to my parents, to Steve’s grandparents, late night fretting about the friend I haven’t seen in too long, the emails I meant to write, the meetings I have scheduled, my brothers and their lives, completely independent of mine.
When I do get time away from my kids, the house seems oddly quiet, sometimes suffocatingly so. I turn on the radio or music to drown out the silence. The phone rarely rings here, and when it does, it’s either my mother or Steve calling from work. The most interaction I get is through my running group. Even school hours are spent mostly in silence, occasionally talking to a prof or in class. But never small talk. I feel a world apart from the other students, sometimes I feel a world apart from my childless friends, and sometimes I feel very disconnected from my mommy-friends. No one person transcends all aspects of my life, except Steve. Sometimes I just feel disconnected.
Not all the time, though. Sometimes life runs so smoothly that it amazes me, and all the things that seem to contrast each other in my life make me smile, like the way I come home beaming and happy after my run group every Tuesday and the way my girls will drop everything to read a book and the way friends can make me laugh out loud even over Twitter and the way Steve can make my heart beat loudly in my ears just by running his hand along my neck.
The confidence that comes from triathlons and road races contrasts the overwhelming feeling I get when the laundry is piled high, and listening to other students talk about their weekends contrasts the loving nest that is my own home.
Life rises and falls, it contrasts and then balances out, I suppose. Always in flux, always constant.