I wake them up in the morning and they stumble out of bed with puffy eyes and groans. We argue about where the shoes are and who had the brush last. They grumble about breakfast and how they don’t feel like school today. I pour coffee in to my cup before I say another word. I pull the little one out of bed as she cries and grabs at the sheets as I haul her into the living room. She makes little fists and let’s out a long howl while I pull her shirt over her head and try and distract her with questions about her day.
The oldest one gives me a minute by minute account letting me know he’s going to be late. He yells to his siblings to hurry up. I grit my teeth and tell him enough as I try and put socks on a chimpanzee who is hollering nooooooooooo.
Finally we’re all in the car. One has bedhead, another one forgot her glasses, the last one never got breakfast. Someone is sitting on someone else’s leg. Someone doesn’t know where their backpack is. I bite my lip to try and contain just how annoyed I am right now. “QUIET.” I say with all the authority I can muster. The kids call it my drill sergeant voice.
We roll up in front of the school and the oldest throws open the door and a couple wrappers flutter to the ground as they stumble over each other to get it out.
“Hey,” I say, “I love you.”
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
“Love you too.” They give me looks that say, we know mom.
I watch them jog off to beat the bell as their backpacks bounce up and down on their backs.
I catch my breath as I watch them go. My heart on eight little legs running through those double doors. No, I don’t think you do know. You think you know how much I love you, but you don’t. You probably never will.
You, you are my everything.
When you drive me absolutely crazy…
When you’re rude and impatient…
When I snap because I just can’t anymore…
When everything is chaos and sticky cups and cut up construction paper you never cleaned up…
When you get out of your bad ten different times to ask for ten different things…
I love you more than I ever knew it was possible to love someone. I love you more than I can ever adequately put into words…and even if I could…you wouldn’t be able to understand, not really. You wouldn’t be able to grasp how my heart walks right with you through those swinging double doors until someday you watch yours.
I breathe deep and my heart aches, because these days are my favorite. Even right now, even before the coffee has had time to kick in. Even right now, even when I’m still wondering what happened to the brush.
I love you.