Thursday, September 26, 2013

Long Days

I hear the whispers outside the room in which I'm sleeping.  They float through my subconscious even as my body pleads, No, no, no it's not time to wake up yet, please no.
"Mommy, can I wake Cakey up yet?"
"What time is it?"
"Almost 6."
"Okay, but be gentle."

Tap tap tap.  I feel her feather hand on my shoulder and crack my eyes open to see her smiling face.  "Hi, Sage," I whisper sleepily.  She grins and flings herself in for a hug while I try to pull myself upright.  She is so grown up in daylight hours, eloquent and mature, and achingly in between childhood and adolescence, but at 6 AM on Thursday mornings, she is my sweet warm buddy again, crawling into my lap and telling me in excited whispers about her school's hiking and overnight trip she's going on today and do I want oatmeal for breakfast and how was my clinical yesterday and should we wake up June so she can see me too?

Half an hour later, June is still not awake.  I sneak into her room, where she is splayed across her mattress, naked except for her wedgied pink underpants, blankets tangled about her feet.  I stroke her back softly, whisper, "Juney-Bee, wake up..."  She turns toward me blearily, her hair in her face.
"Mommy?" she asks.
"No, sweetie, it's Cakey."
"Cakey??!  Is it really you?"  Her sleepy eyes wide open now, she pushes her bangs away, sees it's really me and scrambles her hot little monkey body into my lap and wraps all four impossibly long limbs around my torso and squeezes till my eyes tear up.  She lays her head into my chest and sighs.  "I'm so happy you're here, Cakey.  I love you."
"I love you too, sweetness.  I'm so glad you're mine."

We eat oatmeal at the table and the chatter washes over me while I pour milk and slice apples and we talk about what to wear for school picture day and hiking trips and their mother, a former boss, and now a friend, smiles at me over their heads while I mouth, Thank you for all of this, and she only laughs and shakes her head and wraps me in another hug.

It's a long drive to Massachusetts every Wednesday afternoon for a clinical shift in a tiny community sexual health center whose two exam rooms are each big enough to touch all four walls while you stand in the middle.  I cram myself by the door while my midwife preceptor wedges herself behind the exam table and moves mountains for her patients and teaches them about birth control.  I leave with my face hurting from smiling and my stomach rumbling its emptiness.  I drive to the home of the only nanny family I still keep in touch with, where I bask in the light of being loved and needed and welcomed and family, even while I miss my own family so much it hurts.  I drive the two hours home, shower in a flurry, drive to work and prop my eyelids open for the rest of the day, momentarily panicking when I remember I have a midterm on Monday, a test on Tuesday, an assignment due Wednesday, and a mountain of work before clinical next week.

But today I got to wake up to my two favorite girls and for now that is more than enough.

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