Sunday, March 25, 2007

Work-at-Home Mama

Dear Baby Girl and Lady Bug:

I sit down at my desk chair in the kind of relief one feels after doing an hour of yoga. I take a long, deep inhale and my tense shoulders drop away from my ears.

Really, I just finally got you to settle down enough from your partying to take an afternoon nap. It’s been a solid three hours of caretaking and noisemaking and toy throwing and, frankly, I’m exhausted.

And, so, it’s time to get to work, writing. Another deadline looms in the air like a tiny iridescent fuzz that catches my eye here and there as I finally hunker down after diaper changes, messy meals and kisses on new boo-boos.

Really, I just want to curl up on my office futon with remote control in hand and sleep.

After nearly an hour of staring blankly at my computer’s monitor, typing and retyping the same sentence nine different ways and with my freshly washed fingertips falling numb atop the keys, the words start flowing, finally. I’ve hit a rhythm like no other – at least this week. I barely stop to catch my breath it’s going so well. A smile crosses my face. My fingers dance across the keyboard.

And, then, I hear it. It rumbles like the earth’s core shaking just before an earthquake.

Wwwwha! Whaa! Whaaa!

By the sound of your terrifying cry, Baby Girl, you would think my computer, too heavy from all of those 217 words I just typed in, fell on top of your little head. Like an ugly, fat green monster jumped on top of you and squished you. Like your leg had gotten twisted up and stuck between a couple crib slats.

But, no, you just wanted me. The second I wrap my arms around you, and hug you tight you sigh heavily and collapse against my chest. Your little fingers pinch my skin as you try to nuzzle closer to me. I breathe in the smell of your hair. Suddenly, reality pulls at my heart and commas and pronouns mean nothing. Choosing the right words, though, is a task that will continue all day.

“Shhh,” I say in your ear. “It’s OK. Mama’s here.”

A minute later, Lady Bug, whimpers “don’t forget about me.”

And then it’s time to change diapers, tie shoes and carry you both downstairs to resume the rest of our day: Snack time, play time, dinner time, bath time. The day is coming to an end all too quick.

Tonight, after you are sound asleep, I will face the computer screen again, knowing that my little girls most likely will not wake calling for me. This time, I might actually get something written.

But, really, I’ll just want to curl up in my bed with a good book and fall asleep, dreaming of tomorrow’s peanut butter and jellies, goldfish crumbs and tug o’ wars.