5:30 a.m. The day begins bleary-eyed after wakeup calls at 11, 1:30, 3 and 4.
6:45 a.m. Julianna runs (it looks more like a stagger) into the bathroom, hurtles to a stop beside me at the sink, and grabs the hem of my towel. Looking up at me, she says clearly, “Ma!” and I melt.
9:30a.m. The sitter calls in sick, which means I have no one to get Julianna off the bus at the same time I’m supposed to be at the other end of town picking Alex up from school. I call everyone I can think of but no one is home.
11:45 a.m. I drive twenty miles from one school to the other, and pick up both kids myself. In transit, we spend twelve dollars on lunch (wince).
12:30p.m. The little ones and I sit under the shade of a redbud on the lawn at Alex’s school and have a picnic while we wait.
2:50p.m. While nursing, Nicholas decides to see what happens if he uses his ONE TOOTH on Mommy’s sensitive skin. My shriek rattles the windows, which scares Nicholas, who wails. I don’t have the heart to yell at him. Nonetheless, he goes to bed without any more milk.
7:45p.m. Trying to keep Julianna from freaking out about having her teeth brushed, I start singing Carey Landrey’s “Joy Joy Joy.” It sounds something like this: I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart.—ALEX! GET OUT OF THE TUB! Down in my heart, down in my heart, I’ve got that joy, joy joy joy down in my heart.—NICHOLAS! YOU DO NOT PLAY WITH THE TOILET BOWL BRUSH! Down in my heart to say! And I’m so happy, so very happy, I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart—JULIANNA, YOU SIT STILL OR SO HELP ME, I’LL…I’LL…I’LL STOP SINGING! And I’m so happy, so very happy, I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart!
7:55p.m. Two children whose combined weight is less than fifty pounds synchronize an attack, and down I go. Julianna crawls on top of me to play horsey. I put Nicholas on and she wraps her arms around him.
8:05 p.m. Nursing beside the open window, one soft chewy little body cuddles against me. Another chewy little body, clad in fluffy purple hearts, steps up onto the nursing stool, and proceeds to give me kisses (which, to her, means the flats of her teeth flush against my cheek…not as good as the real thing, but considering how non-cuddly she usually is, I melt. Nicholas, annoyed that she’s encroaching on his mommy time, takes his left hand and tries to push her away, all without letting go of the breast. Alex tears into the room, dives onto the bed and joins the fun. Julianna giggles so loudly that she doesn’t even hear Daddy coming up the stairs after lessons, calling, “I hear giggling! Is this a party in Mommy and Daddy’s room?”
And it occurs to me that despite insufficient sleep, a bleary, blurry brain, feeling overwhelmed and not equal to the tasks I have set before myself, and frequently irritability…I DO have the joy, the peace, the love in my heart. It’s easy to lose sight of in all the craziness—but when I have a moment to sit still, and I don’t fill it with some writing-related task…miraculously, there it is. Joy. Right down in my heart, to stay.