As I stood at the kitchen counter while Darren hurriedly packed himself a lunch this morning, he asked me, "Are all the kids still sleeping?"
"Of course not," I answered somewhat irritably, as the sound of their feet pounding through the living room hastened to meet my tired ears. "They know the instant I'm awake. Even if I were to get up at 4:00 every morning, they'd be up, too."
After a few quick good-bye kisses and hugs for Daddy, Dylan settled himself at the kitchen counter with a pen and stack of fresh paper, humming happily to himself as he began working on another new book.
Meghan, mercifully, was still asleep in my bed, and Caitlyn, shivering, crawled under the covers beside her. "Mommy?" she asked me. "Will you lay down with me, too?" And so I, too, got back into bed, and Caitlyn happily settled herself against the curve of my warm body. But for a moment, though my body was at rest, my mind still raced with thoughts of all that I "should" be doing.
"I should be making beds," I admonished myself.
"I should be sorting laundry."
"I should be checking that online summer recreation schedule I meant to look up yesterday."
"I should be emptying the dishwasher."
Finally, I heard the selfishness of my own thoughts, and, shushing my mind and shooing away every last remnant of those "should be's", I snuggled down deeper into the covers and did exactly what I really should have doing all along: savoring the feel of my daughter's soft mass of curls beneath my hand; inhaling the sweet scent of her soft baby skin; steadying myself with the rhythm of her deep, even respirations. After a few minutes of quietly rubbing her back, Caitlyn was asleep again, but I resisted the temptation to get immediately back out of bed to tackle all those things I thought I should be doing.
Because sometimes, it's best to just be.