The styrofoam container of mashed potatoes slump out of the bag as I extract tonight’s dinner from my cluttered arms. I holler up the stairs at my teens and husband who have all been working from home all day. I survey the damage as I deposit milk in the fridge and my briefcase next to the couch. The sink is full. The counter is cluttered with remnants of brownie baking, colored pencils, and what looks like science notecards. The cats are unfed and squalling around my ankles. Upstairs remains silent. They probably all have on headphones. I walk to get the cat food from under the counter and feel the crunch of a thousand Cheerios underfoot. It’s not really a thousand but there’s enough to be noticeable by the naked eye. I glare at the highly visible broom.
“And miles to go before I sleep,” I mutter under my breath as I deftly begin the simple chores. I tackle the dishes and clutter with gusto. I’ve almost returned our square of paradise back to the default setting, when my family thunders downstairs. Plates fly to the table and the world is filled with delightful chatter. The drive through meal is consumed in a flash and soon, dishes are back in the sink and the tornado returns to the upper realms of the house.
I wipe the table and sigh as I move towards the newly dirtied dishes. My reflection startles me in the window, haggard and weary. Sunlight dances across my backyard and the trees beckon me with their leafy arms. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Literally. They are lovely. I open the back door and leave the monotony of my everyday drudgery. I kick off my shoes and tuck my socks inside. The grass welcomes my toes and I find a plush spot in the middle of the yard.
The world slows and stills as I’m lulled to sleep by the birds and breeze.
I open my eyes to see my children peering down at me. I have promises to keep.