The morning is rushed, children moving slowly, mom distracted and busy. So when it is time to leave, I pull a red hoodie over my pajamas and a grey hat over my hair. M studies me for a moment, says, “Couldn’t you at least change your pants?” And I laugh at her wondering, her already imagining the feeling of walking alongside a mom in pajamas while her friends carry backpacks and lunchboxes across the path.
Our evening is unhappy, impatient, ungentle. We scrape against each other like stones, rough and unyielding. Phil takes J and P to ride bikes, both the girls with unwiped tears still sliding down their cheeks. M and I look at each other, helpless, too weak for all the unhappiness. So we pack fresh cookies into a small plastic container, hold hands, don’t talk much. At the playground M hands out cookies like birthday presents, P rides her bike over speed bumps, we make it through one more evening, tired, but okay.