My favorite time of the day is climbing in to Em’s bed first thing in the morning. She has a morning voice that is both squeaky and scratchy all at once.
I rub her back and kiss her on the cheek. These days I smile at those long legs sticking out from that tiny pink blanket she insists on sleeping beneath.
“Goood morning, kiddo. You have to get up in about five minutes, ok?’
She stretches and moans.
I leave her be and go finish in the bathroom.
“I’m gonna go get dressed, I’ll race you.”
There is no reply. She is not the only sleepy member of our household and it takes great strength to not climb in to bed with her. I sit down on the edge of her bed again.
“Baby girl, are you gonna wake up today? Or will you be that kid at school in her pajamas?”
“We read a book about that… a frog that fell asleep on his first day of school.” She rolls over and sits up. Thumbs threw a well-loved Sandra Boynton board book, Personal Penguin, an all-time favorite she has had memorized for years now.
I smile, kiss her on the forehead. “You are my Personal Penguin, sweetpea. Love you…” and I rise from her bed, closing my bathrobe around my ever expanding mid-section.
I was having the Mother equivalent of a “Damn, it feels good to be a gangster” moment. Everything just felt right. That kid is my heart and soul but there’s plenty of me to go around. I didn’t need to turn back around and smile at her. Or remind her to get up and get moving. We had this thing down. This mothering, family, loving each other just right thing.
“You’re a hippo,” she said.
Kids can be such assholes.
*Davey Jones singing Sandra Boynton’s “Personal Penguin.” Perhaps it should be noted that the penguin’s nearest and dearest is a hippo. Whatever.