She cooks. Loord she cooks. She makes snacks ten times a day to keep the tummies full. She bakes muffins and preps dinner and makes playdough from scratch. She makes lovely fragrant granola that makes the kitchen smell like coconuts and maple and then she makes snacks again while dancing in the kitchen because she likes to make her children food but she also likes to make her children smile.
She cleans. Looord how she cleans. She does two loads of spit-up covered laundry and spot cleans the felt pen off the couch when her toddler finds the markers. She cleans the tub and toilet and dishes and blender. She cleans up the activit the kids did for 5 minutes after she scrolled Pinterest for a dang hour to find the perfet one. She cleans their faces and bums and their jammy fingers and then she wipes the walls because stickiness always prevails.
She reads. Loooord she reads. The same books over and over and over and over until she can recite them from memory long after the kids have ripped the pages out. She reads instruction manuals and recipes and ingredients to make sure no one is eating too much sugar or secret dairy because it makes the baby fussy. She reads the words engraved inside her wedding band because she misses her partner in the next room and she tries to read parenting books but falls asleep instead.
She plays. Oh my goddddd she plays. She rides pretend ponies and swims in pretend oceans and eats pretend food. She does it until she thinks her brain has turned to mush. She plays in forts and wishes she could fall asleep in them for a minute but when she closes her eyes her son does a bum drop on her head and her daughter pries open her eyelids and the baby cries. She plays “folding laundry” and thinks she is tricking them but they throw the mismatched socks in the air and scream that it’s raining and then they end up with her underwear on their heads.
And she laughs. Lord, does she laugh. She cries sometimes too but mostly she laughs because it feels so impossible to keep up and so improbable that it’ll end and when it does end her couches will be as ruined as her poor nipples after three teething babies and the house will be in shambles but the memories that they’ve made will be so sweet, will fuel her when she is eighty in her creaking rocking chair thinking “I wish…I wish…I wish…I could just go back for one more long, long day with them.” So she laughs because it is hard now but she already knows that she’ll long for these days when she is old, and all that she can do right now is inhale the smell of their freshly washed hair after a bath and laugh.