Stay, Mama.


“Stay, Mama.”

She says, just like she does every day as I pull the heavy quilt to her shoulders; her little body so lonely in her big-girl bed.

The room is dark; the blinds pulled shut against the winter sun.

The gentle whooshing of the sound machine envelops us as I turn toward the door, thinking of all that waits for me downstairs…

The mountains of laundry to be washed, and even more to be folded;

the scattered dishes from lunch and who knows how many other meals.

I won’t even bother with the toys – she’ll just get back to it after nap…

I was going to write that email…

So many projects waiting in the studio…

But first I need to clean it…

Oh, and those thank you notes…

Did I take meat out of the freezer? 

“Will you sleep with me?” she asks again. I bend down to kiss her forehead and tell her,

“Mama has to do some work, baby girl. I need to go downstairs and-”

Suddenly I stop.

I. can’t.

I am just so damn tired.

I’m tired of making grocery lists and checklists, and still forgetting things.

I’m tired of being late all the time and feeling not-good-enough.

Tired of trying over and over; chasing after something I’ll never catch –

When the thing I actually need is right in front of me.

She had already made room for me. So I slide beneath the blanket.

Our noses touch and she laughs. The best sound I’ve heard all day.

She throws her arm around my neck and presses her face to mine.

I breathe her in and close my eyes; promising myself I won’t stay.

But I do.


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