I woke up this morning to the sound of…was it my cell phone alarm? Or was it my toddler? I have no idea. Because I can’t even remember. Because this morning seems so long ago. It’s 10 pm and I feel like I’m just starting my day.
If I recall from the recesses of my foggy-mommy brain, I think I was up at 4:30 am, probably after going to sleep at 1 o’clock. “Read book, Mommy!” My head must have fallen as I dozed off with that “what are you thinking?” look on my face. But the early-morning snuggles were oh, so, worth-it. God, I love this kid.
I put her back in her crib, tried to squeeze in a couple more hours of zzzzzzz before the tip-tap of my 4-year-old’s feet were heard across the floor. “I guess I need to get up,” I thought to myself. And then, it’s…off—to—the—races!
Getting dressed: This one surprises me with the clothing that she chooses for her day. Pink from head-to-toe! And that one wrestles me as I change her pull-up and…ouch! “Did you just punch me in the eye? You’re not even two!”
Breakfast: This one likes her dried Special-K red berries on the side. And that one likes them in her milk. This one could benefit from a straw (she’s not drinking enough milk these days!) and that one yells because it’s her straw, the one we got at the last Barnum and Bailey Circus. (I know, sue me for taking my kid there!). Oh no! I’ve got to unload the dishwasher. For now, I’ll just put the stuff in the sink. I’ll get it tonight, after the girls are in bed. If I don’t fall asleep first.
Teeth brushing: Let’s use the Magic Timer app (I highly recommend). This one gets to select which character to use, and that one gets to press start. I notice a moment of tenderness, as the older one gets the younger one’s toothbrush ready. I celebrate the moment by giving both of them high-fives! But the moment doesn’t last long because one begins flailing her toothbrush, mid-brushing into the air, spit and used toothpaste gunk landing on the mirror and on my face. These are moments when I can truly only laugh. And we do. Together. That look in their eyes is oh-so-amazing.
Somehow, and don’t ask me how, it takes 20 minutes to put on our shoes and coats. The older one reminds me to take the teacher’s aide Christmas gift, because he’s there that day. How does she remember this stuff? Don’t judge that it’s mid-January and he’s getting a Christmas gift now. Or the fact that I’m a Jew giving a Christmas gift…let alone, a rabbi giving a Christmas gift. Oy vey.
Speaking of rabbi, after managing to get them to school, I finally arrive at my desk. There are still boxes of Chanukah things that need to be stored away for next year. I know; it’s January. I’ve got some time to check email, touch base with the other staff, get some things checked off of my to-do list, schedule 5 bar/bat mitzvah meetings, 12 coffee and lunch dates, not to mention begin planning for my future classes. I’ve got a webinar scheduled mid-day, so at 11:52 am I hit the restroom and run into the synagogue kitchen to raid the fridge and check out the leftovers situation. Eight minutes is surely enough time to use the bathroom and put some egg salad on a plate.
“Rabbi, while you’re here…can I ask you to look at something?”
“Rabbi, I have a quick question for you.”
There go my eight minutes.
By 12:04 I’m at my desk. Late to my webinar. Although I’m so used to being late, I actually loathe being tardy.
Webinar finished. Then off to meet with more staff. I’ve got 32 minutes until my next appointment – with my older daughter. I have to figure out how to pick her up to take her 1 block away to dance class without the younger one seeing me. I need the younger one to stay there because I have to get back to work.
Off to dance. Juggling tights and leotards and hopefully I remembered a healthy snack. Then back to work after dance-drop-off for a 4 pm conversation with a new member of our community. Mazal tov; welcome aboard!
Eventually, at school pick-up, I spend another 20 minutes (not really, but it feels like it) getting coats back on my kids to walk across the street from school to home. My work day is kinda “over,” but I haven’t really left my job.
After our normal routine of taking off our shoes and washing our hands, we proceed to the kitchen table to set-up for dinner. “Mommy, I think the table is still dirty from breakfast.” I looked across the table. Yes, baby doll; you are right, indeed. I didn’t clean-up from breakfast. Once soggy Special-K flakes had now become one with the kitchen table. I used my thumb nail to pick away at the gross-ness. Ouch. I cut myself. Really? Who cuts herself on a Special-K flake?
Dinner, teeth-brushing, story-time. More wrestling to get dressed, this time in pajamas. And I need to put cocoa butter on one because she was burned in June from MY boiling hot cup of tea that I was drinking. In June. I’m always off on my seasons, as you can see. The wrestling feels like 40 minutes. It must have been 7. Still…seven! She knows she’s tantalizing me so she begins to laugh, that magical smile of her eyes and her delicious cheeks. And I begin to laugh. And I realize how genuine both of our belly laughs are. We can’t stop laughing…together. Pure joy.
As I’m close to putting the one in bed, I peak at my digital clock from the other room. 7:54 pm. I’ve got 6 minutes until my next meeting; I’m calling into this one.
Eventually, eventually, kids are in bed. I’m late (clearly) to my phone meeting. But I do this and suggest that- and in between one comment and another on my phone meeting, I’m able to wipe up the smeared blackberry from my floor. I hang up the phone, answer some more emails and realize…
It’s 10:00 pm and I feel like I just started my day.
I feel like I can finally sit down and…I don’t know. Do whatever I want. If only I wasn’t so tired. I will inevitably fill the next three hours: with laundry, as I change into my yoga pants, but fail to do yoga or run on the treadmill. What’s for dinner tomorrow? What did I forget to do today? I’m sure there’s something.
But as I sit for the first moment of quiet in this hectic day, I feel the biggest sense of peace and calmness. I’m not just starting my day. It’s not about “my” day – what I can get done when the kids are finally asleep.
It’s 10:00 pm and I say to myself, “I just had the best day of my life.” Through the flying toothpaste and the Special-K flake injury, I say to myself with great happiness…
“I would want no other life than this one.”