Hands Full

Friday morning. I awoke and poured a quiet cup of coffee. I chatted with Arnauld in the kitchen. I think I even sat on the stool that the kids use to help mix and pour at the counters, and savored a few quiet sips of my coffee.

Then…I heard the footsteps coming. Adi appeared cocooned in a blanket, Rose not far behind. Adi settled in near the heat vent, a spot she often has to fight the dogs for. “Start getting dressed while I finish getting ready,” I said to the girls, knowing well enough that it wouldn’t be that easy. They’d need more reminders and prompts to get a move on.

Emerging from the bathroom a few minutes later, the heap of Adi and her blanket had moved to the couch. Rose had already turned on the TV to their new “old” favorite, Power Rangers. “Remember, you need to be getting dressed,” I said. I brought Rose’s clothes to her and began to help her change, the only way it would happen realistically.

I called up to Wren, “Wren, if you want me to do your hair before I go, you need to come down and get dressed now!”

Somewhere in between dressing Rose and Wren coming down, Adi emerged from her cocoon, not quiet a graceful butterfly, more like a grouchy ladybug. “I don’t want to wear short sleeves,” she insisted as she surveyed the clothes I had laid out for her. “I want to wear a turtleneck.” I share the day’s weather forecast with her, with temperatures in the seventies, I told her short sleeves might be better. As she began the slow process of getting dressed, Wren stomped into the room holding a sweater. “I’m not wearing this,” she said. So upstairs I went to find her something she WOULD wear.

“I’m looking for a crazy hat or crazy hair,” Adi let me know as I came back down the stairs. Right, today’s crazy hat or hair day for her… “And, it’s 52,” she said, meaning it was 6:52. She knows I try to leave by 7:00. Thanks for the reminder Adi.

I call her into the bathroom to try and tackle crazy hair day. Adi doesn’t always like the attention that comes with spirit days. She often prefers to wear her school uniform, fly under the radar. So I suggested only slightly crazy hair styles. “How about three braids instead of two?” I offered.

“I don’t care,” Adi said. “I just want hair…”

Whatever that means.

I finish the third braid and Adi runs to the mirror to examine the look. “I don’t like it,” she said as I looked down at my watch.

A few minutes later, the braids are all undone and we’ve created a ponytail, sprayed with pink spray leftover from Halloween and decorated with several scrunchies. This look passes Adi’s standards for crazy hair day. Thanks goodness because there is no time for another try.

I look at the clock, 7:07. “I really need to go,” I announce to the crowd of children standing around me as I look down at myself to double check that I’m dressed and wearing matching shoes.

I pick up all of my bags, give Rose “Just one more hug” several times and sigh as I make it out the door, hands full. I see that it is raining and realize I didn’t grab a coat with a hood. “I’ll just run to the car,” I think to myself- safer than going back in.

When I reach the car door, I readjust everything I am holding so I can I grab the handle, relying on the keyless entry and the key fob that’s always in my coat pocket.

The door doesn’t budge. Arnauld used my car last night to pick up Wren from dance. No key fob. Back into the house I go. Maybe they won’t see me….or need anything. Except, one more hug for Rose.

11 thoughts on “Hands Full

  1. Yikes! It’s crazy just leaving! Amazing how their personalities and growing independence and opinions somehow makes it all the more tricky to leave on time! I do recall those days quite clearly! The one more hug is the sweetest!


  2. I loved this and totally commiserate. But doesn’t it feel good, too, to be needed? You so beautifully capture motherhood, and this special stage- regardless of how challenging it can sometimes feel. Xx


  3. This, every morning! I love the images you created of each girl and the chaos of the morning routine…it feels like being in a tornado sometimes, doesn’t it?


  4. Oh, yes. The moment you get to the car door, everything precariously balanced and… no fob. These are the mornings. I love the way you capture the bustle of the morning and each girl’s personality. I especially love this line, “Adi emerged from her cocoon, not quiet a graceful butterfly, more like a grouchy ladybug” which I read several times because it made me laugh. I think Adi and Eric would probably get along pretty darn well. 🙂


  5. ” I look down at myself to double check that I’m dressed and wearing matching shoes.” I literally laughed out loud here. Your storytelling is unmatched! The pacing, the dips and turns – all make this such a satisfyingly entertaining read. I admire your fortitude. Glad I was able to catch this slice!


  6. I’m exhausted from reading this, and that’s not a criticism of the writing. It’s a compliment. I’m quite sure I couldn’t have handled that. You’ve already had a mental and physical workout before you even leave the house.
    I loved, “‘I just want hair…’ Whatever that means.”


  7. How well you show the love behind the chaos–just one more hug. No matter how hectic things are, you never lose sight of what’s real. I’m glad the ‘crazy hair” passed muster.


  8. We still have battles in this house over hair in the morning- Maura always wanting someone to do some sophisticated braid! Always give the one more hug!


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