Morning seeps into my body, eyelids heavy, bones filled with lead, head achy, mind resistant to working. K is the first to appear - yet by the time she comes upstairs my husband is long gone to work and my alarm has reminded me two (or three?) times to get out of bed.
K clomps up the stairs and appears at my bedside, "Can I watch TV?"I drag myself into the bathroom and pull on clothes while K retreats to her room to gather school clothes. I arrive downstairs to find A in bed, reading. I ask her to get dressed and shuffle into B's room, where I stop short of the bed. She is curled on her side, the comforter partly obscuring her face, fully and totally asleep.
"No, honey. It's a school day."
"Oh. Can I lay down with you?"
Up she climbs into the bed, blanket and all. We talk. OK, OK, she talks and I mumble responses until the alarm blares insistently that I get out of bed. This time, it means business.
I sit down and rub her back.Last night I lay in bed exhausted from a night of coordinating volunteers and dressing daughters for a dress rehearsal. And as I lay there, I thought about B. This is the first time in three years that she's danced in a recital. She took a year of ballet in kindergarten, but decided it wasn't her thing. Instead, she's played soccer and basketball and created lots and lots of art. But this year, she wanted to try a new Jazz Funk class, offered by a young, energetic and fun teacher. B has loved it. She's showed me her dance in bits and pieces as she's learned it. She had me buy the song on iTunes so that she could practice at home. She is having fun with it.
"Boo," I whisper to her, "Do you know that I love you?"
A nod is her mute reply.
"Do you know that I love your sisters? That I love each of you differently, but equally?"
Another nod, her eyes remain closed.
"But did you know that I when I see you like this in the morning, I think, 'She is like me. That is how I feel every morning.' Did you know that?"
A smile, her eyes open the tiniest bit. She rubs her eyes (again, just like me) and I reach down to retrieve a loose eyelash.
"Hey, here's an eyelash. Want to make a wish?"
"Mmmph. Yes." B's eyes finally open all the way and she reaches out, takes the eyelash from my finger onto her own and blows.
"What did you wish for?" I ask, not really expecting an answer. When I was eight, wishes were closely guarded secrets, never revealed for fear that it would remove the wish's power.
So I am surprised when she says, "To be a good mommy when I grow up."
"Oh, B," I murmur as I hug her, "you'll be a great mom." And inside, my heart whispers, "Yes! I wish that, too!"
Still... dress rehearsals aren't exactly her thing. And her dance was the third to last to be performed - scheduled to start two hours after the first number rehearsed that night. So I had wondered how hours of sitting would go for her. If it were K, she would happily sit and watch the others perform. But this wasn't K. B watched a dance or two, but then retreated to her book. She read and read. She snacked. She chatted with me and a few others.
As we watched her big sister A dance, B asked me, "How many dances is A doing?"B was a great sister last night. She supported A and K without the slightest evidence of envy and was well-behaved during a stretch of several hours when I'm sure she would have preferred to have been at home playing - or at least not waiting around to dance.
"Three," I replied, wondering what response this would elicit.
"Oh, OK." was the mild reply.
So as I fell asleep, I was thinking about this amazing middle child of mine and my wish was almost exactly what hers was this morning, "I want to be a good mom - to her and to her sisters." My heart aches with a desire to show them how much I love them and how proud I am of exactly who they are.
That eyelash this morning was a teeny, tiny blessing because it let my wish echo my daughter's.