Hadly was an enduring mother. Her twins, Peter and Elizabeth, were taking a nap. Her youngest, Jenny, was on her lap. She was rocking the baby to sleep. Her brow was set. Once all three were asleep she’d have an opportunity.
What was left of the day’s sunshine spilled through the half open window shade which shown a path of light to the opening of the closet where soiled children’s clothes lay. She would do a load of laundry as soon as Jenny was asleep, she thought.
Hadly watched Jenny’s heavy eyes. The baby was blinking and with each blink her tiny eyelids were staying closed longer. Within minutes Jenny’s eyes would shut and not open again for at least a half hour. Hadly smelled the top of Jenny’s head and nuzzled her. She told her she loved her in a soothing tone.
Hadly took notice of the changing table’s mess. She needed to remember to clean the linen and wash the wood where the soiled diaper had slipped from her hands. The baby had kicked and gotten her heal into the diaper unexpectedly. Normally she would have placed the diaper in a position where even if Jenny had kicked, it wouldn’t have mattered.
The baby took one last blink and was asleep. Hadly kissed Jenny’s head and slowly rose from the rocking chair and walked to the crib. She cradled Jenny’s head and lowered her body, gently, and smoothed Jenny’s hair as always. She again told Jenny she loved her, turned to the closet, gathered the dirty clothes, and walked out of the nursery.
While walking down the hallway, with the clothes in her arms, she quietly peered into the bedroom to view the twins. Peter was sleeping face down in an awkward position, but she could see his body rise with each breath; there was no worry. Elizabeth slept on her side, facing her. Elizabeth was small for a three year old. Her cheeks were rosy and always flushed to a degree even when inside and asleep.
Every afternoon was a variation of this. One way or another she’d entice the twins into a nap and then she’d rock Jenny to sleep. Finally she’d have a small amount of time to handle items around the house before learning if her husband would come home on time, or not at all.
Hadly stood in front of the bathroom mirror. She had started the laundry and now had to decide if she wanted to shower, or wash bottles. Her face looked stern and caring. Her eyes looked vibrant and knowing, but if you knew when to look, you’d see they were tired. She didn’t allow herself to view her tired eyes, only the vibrant because there wasn’t time to be tired. And now she needed to quickly decide, shower, or bottles.
Her husbands hands-off approach was something she took as a personal challenge. It was not a punishment. She had wanted and gotten the children she’d dreamed of having. Last night he had come home late. This didn’t surprise, nor anger her. Last week he hadn’t come home at all on Tuesday night. This was happening so regularly now that the children had stopped asking questions.
She softened her brow to view the creases ease. She let the memory of having moved away from her family and friends steal a few precious seconds. She thought of how difficult it had been to give her career away, but she had done it. Then, they had lost the first one. She endured and now they have three. She smiled at herself in the mirror and a small tear formed. She let it drop freely down her cheek and onto her chin. She had time for one tear and a shower if she hurried.
I’ve endured my entire life. Maybe enduring isn’t enough, she thought.
Copyright 2016 -M. Taggart
Note: I wrote this with limited time Sunday morning with my wife, Megan, and eight month old, Gavin, in back of me. They are in bed watching cartoons. Gavin is babbling at his toys and Megan is drinking coffee I had brought to her a few moments ago. I’ve never written in the same room as my family. I like this story and may develop it further. Thanks for reading, Matt.
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