Lately it feels like I have been overbooked, overtired, and completely overwhelmed. I’ve been deliberate about carving out time where there is no phone, no computer, no timelines, just a daughter and me. I don’t say this to make anyone feel a certain way about me—I am not looking to participate in arguments about how we parent or how we do or don’t climb the corporate ladder. I am saying aloud for the benefit of myself that this one thing I wanted to accomplish, these snippets of alone time with each daughter, have happened. I did close out everything but the cadence in Ave’s reading, the lilt in Fin’s voice as she sang a new song, the quirky sound that Briar makes before she starts a new sentence. Either side of these interludes have been filled to capacity with stress, but oh these moments. We melt into each other.

This morning I cuddled with Finley as I worshipped my first cup of coffe. I talked nose-to-nose with Briar about how proud I was of her hard work these last weeks. After driving Briar to school early for math club, I sat waiting with Ave for twenty minutes before the doors to school opened. She read me a story and I was once again awed by the drama she uses for dialogue. When I kissed her goodbye I said, “I’ll kiss you when you’re sleeping.”

Tonight was my third late night working late. We drove 30 minutes for one meeting and when we were finished we drove another hour to a different meeting. I genuinely enjoy these kinds of meetings, but they take a surprisingly deep toll on me. I feel myself staggering, like the time Tara managed to get me to run a 10k, to the finish line. Tomorrow is Friday, which means piano lessons followed by family movie night. I am clinging to the idea of scrubbing my face, donning my pjs and just being mom. I thought about it the whole snowy drive home tonight. I need to recharge.

For a moment, before our second meeting, we rolled slowly through Santanoni. We stopped to watch the snowfall over the grounds and I held the camera for nearly a minute. The silence of nature has an almost melodic quality. I imagined visiting months from now, the girls in tow, and hearing the water rushing, their voices exclaiming over this or that. Then my mind quieted itself and I felt myself allow a bit of my worry to slip off and land softly in the snow.