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Post-Holiday

She’s weepy when she’s feverish or anxious. This bold daughter of mine, she lets down her walls as her eyes brim and her small body leans in for reassurance in our arms.

This holiday break was a game of viral dominos, of falling pieces, the passing of coughs and fevers and expressionless faces with glassy eyes peeking out from under soft blankets, shivering on couches.

It hit Evie the longest, we kept her home from her first day back at school yesterday. Before bed last night, she was doing better, though anxious, even as she leaned onto the side of my bed telling me about the worm book that they’re starting in school and how she’s excited to go back. 

She showered and dressed in a happy outfit of jeans with dancing hearts and a matching top, clustered with smiling faces – all to wear to bed, so she would be ready to get up and go.

But then, seven in the morning came and her sniffles and tears came to greet me in my bed. No fever this time, just anxiety. The wave of panic over leaving something as cozy and familiar as home, of knowing your mother was just the next room over for hugs or a cup of tea. 

So, in the early morning light, we stood in the kitchen and made tea and she added her tears to the mug. We talked about all of the good things to come for the day, and that we were only a phone call away if she needed us to pick her up. Vinnie came home from dropping the other kids off to gather her and Alex. He sat down to comfort her as she sipped her tea and I said quietly enough for only him to hear, “I wish we had a packet of tissues to send with her.”

He turned to me with a wink, “I already put one in her backpack.”

And they left.


And I’ve spent my morning in the quiet of a post-holiday vacation household, still cluttered with the whirlwind of the past weeks. Gift bags and stockings on couch cushions – tables, and counters with sparkling butter cookies and other treats, trays of cupcakes, stollen loaves, and hot cocoa ingredients packaged in the shape of reindeer snouts. The leftovers of all of the goodness that transpired, even as the dominos fell. I miss the fullness of the house.
Christmas morning, she opened a locket from Vinnie and me, pictures of us and her siblings on either side of the brass heart, the front etched with an E. I just found it amongst the Christmas debris and went to place it on her dresser. And, I realized that I’ve spent the morning in anticipation of my phone buzzing, letting me know she needs me to go get her. Yet, I’m also happy for her and relieved for myself, that she has not.

Motherhood is nothing if not a million deep and contradictory feelings every day…and now to scramble back to catching up on all of the things that aren’t intrinsically tied to each and every one of them. Like the dishes, editing, office work, and a long run.

All before the house is filled up again, only to empty and repeat again, and again.

1 Comment so far

  1. Eileen Crowe

    You describe motherhood so beautifully, you make me wish I were a mother. Blessings on you and your family. ❤

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