Our youngest wakes up early and I am glad for summer because the room is filled with buttersoft light, the hour is raw but at least it’s not black and his voice calls again and again and we don’t want to get up but we do.

He chatters and points and complains about being dressed and my arms know all of this by heart, the way I thread his hands through the sleeves, the distractions, the eager thump thump thump of his feet, pedaling before they even touch the ground and he’s off.

His brother creaks open the door and emerges with nubbly blue blanket wrapped around his shoulders and blinks at us and he’s a heartbreaking jangle of knees and elbows and bruises and dark almond eyes and his sleepy hair is sticking up in tufts and his presence marks the almost-audible sound of the day’s machinery starting up. I ask him what he dreamed about and he tilts his head and says hmmmmm.

The kitchen smells of waffles and cereal and coffee and my husband folds back the paper and the newsprint crackles and one boy talks through a mouthful of bread while the other gleefully pounds his tray and I move dreamily from dishwasher to cabinet and back again. A bowl, nestled inside another. A fork, dropped in a drawer with a metallic chime.

Milk, juice, everyone’s on the move and we’ve got to find shoes, shoes, where did that one go, the dog has hidden it, the toddler ran off with it, our footsteps are a crazyquilt of inefficiency and laughter and impatience and the house is full to bursting until there is a flurry of kisses and bye-byes and suddenly it is empty. Things hum—dishwasher, washing machine, shower—but the silence is like a blanket. Only I am left, and I am leaving soon.

Cars and highways and buildings of steel and glass and I am elsewhere, at that other part of my life where I sit and type and read and sometimes dream of being home (where I sometimes dream of being elsewhere) and the sun is a presence I cannot really feel, behind the blinds and the window and the artfully exposed steel ducts and the companionable face of my screen which displays numbers on the upper right-hand side which I watch: 12:20, 1:45, 3:30, 4:25, 5:00, and it is time to go back into the cars and onto the highways and past the buildings of steel and glass.

I sneak up to the kitchen window and peer in and comically drop out of sight then pop back up and they both scream and point and laugh and that’s when I open the door and they are on me in a rush, one locking his arms around my legs and giggling and the other raising his arms and beseeching to be picked up, up, up.

Dinner and backyard games and there are clothes to be folded and things to be swept and baths to be had and walks to be taken and the evening passes in a way that is both a joyous dream and a punishing grind, it lasts forever and it’s done with before I know it, all at the same time, I never understand how this works.

Bedtimes go on and on and on, everyone protesting everything they can and I rock one boy for what seems like hours while I sing into the top of his hair and eventually I only hum, no words, and his body is an indescribably luscious sleepy weight. Into the crib and it’s over to the other boy’s room for stories and kisses and likely as not it’s back to the first one for a second stint in the rocking chair and I step lightly down the hall and into the other part of the house and exhale a gusty plume of the entire day in one long breath.

Then: shoes, laced. Shorts pulled on, Lycra tugged overhead. I need to sweat and so I move my tired body until unwanted things start falling away: cars, cries, complaints. When I’m done I feel scooped clean and again I am glad for summer and these stretched-out hours because it is growing late but the sky is only a dimmed lamp, I can still see my way.

Clack-clatter of keyboards and friendly silence dotted by murmured conversation and then the dual creak of our bodies settling into the couch and the flickering television and I am yawning and my eyes are hot and heavy and we tiptoe past the sleeping bedrooms and into our own and the faucet runs and the bedclothes are pulled tight and for a brief time there is a rustle of paper as pages turn but my head soon falls back and I dream of nothing and everything, conversations that make no sense and people I don’t know and half-remembered images and before I know it the room is filled with buttersoft light and I hear a little voice calling for us again.

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Christine B
13 years ago

Oh! So beautiful and eloquent. Thank you for that.

Pam
Pam
13 years ago

Just perfectly written. So envious of the way you can express yourself.

Mandee
13 years ago

Just beautiful, Linda. You have such a talent.

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

I will buy every book you write. I will pay the price listed inside the cover because I will want them as soon as they are off the press. A few years from now, I will tell people you are my favorite author, “Have you heard of her? She’s got this incredible way of saying the most simple of things, she makes you want to read more. Here’s her book, and buy more of her when you finish. She is THAT GOOD”.

Christine
13 years ago

Aaand you made me cry. That’s all.

heather
13 years ago

you’re such a great writer. really.

M.A.
M.A.
13 years ago

Write. Your. Book. Please!

Courtney in FL
Courtney in FL
13 years ago

I agree 100% with what Lisa said. Amazing talent!

Kristy
13 years ago

If you’re not reading this blog…

http://www.mytopography.com/

you should be.

Erin
13 years ago

Wow. That was amazing. That is my dream life right there.

Now, you really should get to writing that book! :)

She Likes Purple
13 years ago

No one does this better than you.

Hillary
13 years ago

the perfect way to end a night.

Must Be Motherhood
13 years ago

gorgeous

Erin
Erin
13 years ago

It’s a beautiful life!

Serenity Now
13 years ago

Good Lord woman…you write so well, it kinda freaks me out. Ditto Lisa up there. You don’t suck.

Kate
13 years ago

Ooooh Linda….Do you even comprehend or acknowledge the talent you possess? Do you have even the slightest inkling of the power of your arrangement of words?? My God, woman. Don’t ever stop writing. EVER. Keep writing. Please.

squandra
squandra
13 years ago

Absolutely lovely.

JenniferB
JenniferB
13 years ago

Gorgeous, gorgeous. Truly — keep at it!

Mimi
13 years ago

Love this! It’s the everyday things that we don’t talk about as much, but are so important.

Bekki
Bekki
13 years ago

You painted such a gorgeous picture of your day. Never in my life have I thought of the daily, mundane, grind as beautiful. But it really is! Thank you

Stacee
Stacee
13 years ago

I love everything you write, but I think this is the “voice” you’ll use when you someday publish a book. It’s just lovely.

vague
13 years ago

Love love love. At the end I want to go back to the beginning again.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

This is beautiful.

Ashley
Ashley
13 years ago

I wish you posted every day. I refresh your page at least ten times a day to read your writing, and to eagerly digest the chronicles of your life. You are a beautiful writer – easy to access and absorb AND infused with such talent! You go!

Nothing But Bonfires
13 years ago

I just loved this. So, so wonderful.

js
js
13 years ago

Your way with words never fails to amaze me. I love this. It makes me smile and ache at the same time. I want that.

Janet
Janet
13 years ago

Just beautiful, I think I won’t look at evenings the same again.

Natalie
13 years ago

Ditto Ashley. I love your journal Linda! You are by far my favorite blog. You have an amazing talent. We are just lucky you share it.

Misty
Misty
13 years ago

pure awesomeness – from the girl you met the the children’s museum. :)

Kristi
13 years ago

That is one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever written – and I’ve been around here a long time.

SJ
SJ
13 years ago

Absolutely beautiful. I loved it so much I read it again. Two times.

Sara
13 years ago

Thank you for lifting my spirits at the end of a long, long day. And for reminding me to pause and enjoy the small moments.

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

1 Write what you know.
2 Write
3 Write
4 Write
5 See above.

Melinda
Melinda
13 years ago

LOVE this. Love.

Haitian American Family of Three

Wonderfully written.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

Ah, beautiful. Thank you.

Leah
13 years ago

*inhale*

*exhale* (This one like a sigh.)

Jen L
Jen L
13 years ago

Wait – you tie your shoes before you pull on your shorts??? That is the only thing in this whole amazing, magical piece that made me go, “Baroooo?” like a confused cocker spaniel. The rest is so damn wonderfully familiar – my life too, just through the looking glass to a place where it’s not taken for granted. And mommies exercise. But whatevs.

Spectacular. Just gorgeous. Thank you.

lisa
13 years ago

That right there is your book. I love to read about parenthood from your point of view. If I were to ever to decide to become a parent, I imagine I’d be living the same balancing act as you and many other working moms do. It’s nice to know that you can do it all and still keep your sense of humor and joy. :)

samantha jo campen
13 years ago

God I hope one day I can write half as good as that post.

Beautiful.

Annabelle
13 years ago

I love your writing. It always makes me…feel.

Thank you.

wordygirl
13 years ago

Linda …

Please write that book.

Please?

mrsgryphon
mrsgryphon
13 years ago

Oh, how I wish I could put words and feelings together the way you do!!

Such a beautiful vision of your days with your family… fabulous.

Susan
13 years ago

Perfect.

Rachel
13 years ago

So beautiful… don’t ever stop writing.

Ashley
13 years ago

You make the mundane glimmer. I will see tomorrow morning completely different after reading this, thank you Linda.

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

When I got to “Then: shoes, laced. Shorts pulled on, Lycra tugged overhead,” I wasn’t just admiring your writing.

I hope you know how incredible you are.

Victoria
13 years ago

Man you can write.

Reagan
13 years ago

That was so beautiful. And it’s also my dream life.

Oh I do hope you write a book. I need more!

oregoncoastgirl
oregoncoastgirl
13 years ago

excellent.

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