This morning I got out of bed at 6:15, hoping for an hour to myself before the girls woke up. I walked to the bathroom to shower, flipped the light switch and my four year old came barrelling out of her room, bleary-eyed, shouting in a distraught voice, "Mom! You didn't let me snuggle you!"
I am an introvert living in a raucous house full of small children who demand my attention constantly. I get through my day much more cheerfully if I get some quiet time to myself in the morning before they get up. The children, however, prefer me to wake up when they flop onto my bed. They want me to groggily open my eyes when they snuggle into my shoulder.
So when I have the chance to get up early, I creep as quietly as I can. I turn on the fan in the bathroom because its white noise sometimes lulls them into sleeping longer. But this summer, nothing has worked. At least one of them will wake up, run to me and wail that I am not in my bed, awaiting their company.
The loss of that morning solitude makes everything harder. It is harder to keep my temper. It is hard to accept with equanimity the other thousand things they prevent me from doing. It is harder to smile when they ask the same damn question for the fourteenth time that hour.
Right now I am sitting on my front porch while the children play in the yard. I can't leave them outside alone to play; they are too young and our neighborhood is too rough. I have to sit here, looking at all the yard work that needs to be done, work that I cannot do because little hands will constantly grab at the pruning shears, or because the two year old will run into the street or into the woods if I turn my back on her. I am hating the demands of parenthood right now, and I know I would find it less onerous if I had been allowed twenty minutes to drink a cup of coffee in silence.
I remember C.S. Lewis remonstrating once that we are tempted to think of time as something we own, so that when someone asks for our attention we see them as thieves of our time. I get his point, but it's also an easy one for a bachelor don to make. When all my time is claimed by the kids, I become a kind of childcare automaton. I cannot share any of myself with my husband or my friends because there is no self left.
So here I am, turning to the blog as in the past, because in the half attention it took to write this (two children are whining to me right now, another is banging on a metal tin, and my oldest, God bless her, promised to leave me alone for twenty minutes and is doing so), I feel slightly more human than I did before I started.
Thank you, dear reader.