I woke up to cries echoing on the baby monitor. Too early, I thought as I confirmed the time on my phone, charging on my bedside table.
Just a few hours before I had been up, rocking a writhing little boy and singing softly in an effort to soothe him back to sleep. I stomped across the room secretly hoping I would wake my servant-hearted husband and coax him into trading places with me. My cold feet on the floor longed for the warmth of our white down comforter.
I guess I wasn’t loud enough because his breathing was still low and slow as I tiptoed out of the bathroom, grabbed my glasses and prepared myself for Monday.
Monday feels like ice-cold water hitting your face after a long bask in the sun of the weekend. Today was going to be gracious to me, though, and allow me to ease into the rhythm of being outnumbered by babies. Today, I was going to write.
Praise God for babysitters and wifi at Starbucks. This hallelujah chorus was singing in my mind as I changed the first dirty diaper, made a bottle, gave a bottle, put the first baby in a high chair, changed a second dirty diaper, put the second baby in a high chair, started cracking eggs to scramble and toasting bread to host a spread of peanut butter.
My husband came in freshly showered and the smell of Old Spice mingled with the rich aroma of coffee that I had remembered to brew before the prior chain reaction was set in motion. Our morning was rolling right along.
And then, it happened. You’re never ready for it. No matter how many times you’ve experienced it, you’re still left with a dropped jaw and a slow motion reaction that just can’t keep up with its momentum. Projectile vomit.
You pause a moment and try to take in what has just happened.
“Maybe he just gagged on his egg,” I told my husband.
My heart knew that fountain was more than just an egg though. Confirmation occurred less than thirty seconds later when the first spew was one-upped by the second.
My shoulders sagged with my spirit as I pulled out my phone to cancel the sitter. I kissed my husband goodbye and turned on Curious George for my oldest as I sat holding my little one, bracing for the next round.
My mood had gone from fatigued to hopeful to downtrodden in less than an hour. I pouted and pondered all the things that I could be doing, that I wished I was doing, that I needed to do. My son nestled closer and my thoughts turned to him as I realized that he was sitting still and close, matching his breaths to mine.
Usually he is always on the move, always playing and trying to keep up with his big sister. His joy and his smile are contagious, traveling as quickly as he does throughout the house. He twists and turns when I pick him up as he looks for the best vantage point, seeking out his next activity. He is never still.
But today, on this Monday, he is.
I tuck away my “what ifs” and press into the long day ahead. I press in knowing I’ll need extra coffee, extra strength, and extra grace. I press in, knowing that the day will probably be full of trials and scant of “me time.”
It’s rainy and dark outside when the sun should be up. My living room feels like a forest, the trees blocking out the day. Light barely streams through the windows as we hunker down and await what will come. There’s a pocket of sunshine snuggled in my arms, and I pull him closer.
I wouldn’t change a thing about today.
Light falls even in the thick of the forest, illuminating our path, calling us deeper still, for it’s in the darkest corners that even the tiniest glimmer of light has the greatest impact.
In my newsletter this week (the Monday Minutes), I talked about light streaming into our darkest places, and how our days are filled with the hard and the good. This is one of my stories where I’m learning to press into the dark spaces to glean the good that comes with the hard.