pulling on shoes and coats, finding backpacks and gloves. zippering the littles, dog in everyone's way. if she knocks the baby over one more time, i swear...
we may not have time to strap into the stroller today. when i'm anxious i drip with doom. we're going to be late. i hate being late.
the girls are already outside. big sister is bossy, even at the break of dawn. eliza, you can't get in the stroller.
a very real scream. suddenly i'm certain that i forgot the put the stroller brake on yesterday and i'm imagining eliza trying to get in and oh my god i bet now she's rolling down the driveway, down the hill, into traffic. those high school drivers go so fast, never looking.
i rush to the door.
they're just fighting.
i bark some commands about no screaming and thought someone got their head cut off and we're late and lets get going. my voice sounds so harsh. my edges are raw.
i plow the stroller down the driveway and look past the end of my own nose to see a neighbor standing at the end of her driveway. offering to help.
do you need someone to watch the little ones while you go to the bus stop?
blush rising in my cheeks. i sounded so awesome just now. i collect myself.
no, i'm okay. but thank you. some mornings, you know...
oh, i know. it happens to us all, unfortunately. she gets in her car, off to work. her two grown kids are in college now. i'm guessing she has been here. that her voice sounded like mine did just now. once upon a time.
but i'm still embarrassed. i feel exposed.
i tuck all my harsh edges back into the soft folds of my sweater. pushing them down, down.
not me. not me.