It’s still dark. I kiss Dennis goodbye. Inhale his cologne.
I throw back the covers, feel around for bathrobe.
Find my slippers that Lillee carried around last night.
Turn up heat.
Wake up Grace.
Make some oatmeal.
Think hard. Do I need to make a lunch? No, not today. They’re having taco bar. What time is her doctor’s appointment? Not today–tomorrow.
Wash a snack apple.
Wake up Grace. Again.
Must hurry. It’s MEAP day. Can’t be late.
Get Lillee up. Change her diaper.
Tighten Grace’s splint. (To support her fractured clavicle. She might shed it tomorrow.) Remind her to hurry.
Pour Cheerios for Lillee who refuses oatmeal. Dish up oatmeal for Grace.
Throw on ratty clothes tossed on couch last night and hope we don’t have an accident.
Grace’s chain has snapped, and she must have the card it holds for her test. Look for replacement.
Locate keys. Can’t find purse. Grab scissors. Rush girls to car. Strap Lillee in. Browse drawers in garage for narrow ribbon. Find some burgundy. Toss on front seat.
Heave open garage door because opener is broken.
We’ve got less than 10 minutes.
I steer with left hand and hold ribbon between fingers. With right hand, I cut a length of ribbon. At the stop sign, I thread ribbon through hole in card, tie knot, and reach it back to Grace.
“Grace! We forgot your medicine!”
It’s too late. But not today of all days.
She says she’ll be okay.
Once home, Lil wants more to eat. She offers one of her mom’s My Little Ponys on a book platter for my breakfast. I replace the batteries in her piggy flashlight.
I try to write.
I wonder what time her mom will pick her up. Will I need to feed her lunch? Will Grace be here for dinner? What can I make that she won’t refuse? Will she want to cook it again? Must. Do. Laundry.
I shuffle through the bills. I’m sure something is late.
I never imagined this.
That life would still be such a frazzle at my age and stage. In my mind Dennis and I would be sitting together in a spic-and-span kitchen at a white-linen-draped table, drinking fresh juice from stemmed glasses, munching homemade granola or muffins from white china, watching birds at the feeder. Then we’d go for a long walk hand-in-hand, stopping often to take pictures. Later we’d go play a little tennis, poke around in some museum, read, share memories. I’d write more.
I guess there’s still time for that.
But today I’ll take some time to be still. And know.
“The present is the ever-moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
“All is pattern, all life, but we can’t always see the pattern when we are part of it.” ~Writer Belva Plain
“The older one gets, the more one feels that the present must be enjoyed; it is a precious gift, comparable to a state of grace.” ~Marie Curie
Live your life and forget your age. ~Norman Vincent Peale
There. Now I’m caught up.