The days seems so long these days, with so many things carrying over to the next day’s to do list. I try to find something each day that feels like a victory, even if it’s just the tiniest of accomplishments…putting away a hamper full of folded clothes , cleaning the kitchen, or prepping the pot for the next morning’s coffee (I did say tiny.)
The one thing I can count on every night is my routine with Avery, it is literally my salvation. After kisses for Daddy and Briar, she burrows her face in my neck and I carry her upstairs. Depending upon the amount of dinner I failed to clean from her face, we pop into the bathroom for a few quick passes of a warm wash cloth over her cheeks. Lately with the bug going around our house we spend a little extra time, me trying to clean her nose, shetrying to suck every last bit of water out of the cloth. Then we head to her room. She knows exactly what is coming, and unlike her profoundly difficult to get down for the night since birth sister, she welcomes the sleep ritual.
I turn on a nightlight that was my grandmother’s and we go about changing her diaper, kisses and coos throughout. She rolls about as I try to snap her in her pj’s but rather than annoy me, I respond playfully. I am endlessly grateful that I have an infinite fuse in this arena. After pj’s we scamper into the full size bed, tug and twist the pale lavender afghan throw until we are covered and face each other, my lips touching her head. She nurses and strokes my face, occasionally looking up to give me a twinkly I love you. Her dark hair is kinked and pointing every which way from the ponytail we remove before bed, it tickles my nose and feels as decadent as the most luxurious fur coat might feel ’round the neck of a woman with no worries. Outside Avery’s door and down the stairs are a pile of dishes, unopened mail, articles to write and emails to answer, but for now there is just a tickle and a sigh.
Watching through silky strands of hair, her journey from playful to milk drunk is my peace. Her lashes, flutter against the curve of her cheeks, her hands press against my skin, tracing circles and then every so often darting down to embrace my side, her legs curling to wrap around me. I am hers and in this moment we are everything. The sound of her swallowing fills the room, delicate puffs of breath against breast, and the familiar melody of muted kisses on sleeping brow warm me. This is my everything, my release and my reset, my beginning and my end.