My bed feels much warmer than usual. I haven’t opened my eyes yet, but I can sense the presence of another body. Peeking through one eye, I see her. I feel a flush of relief as I inch closer to her warm body. When I’m near her, I feel safe, loved, and fuzzy. Is today is a school day or the weekend? It’s always so hard to tell first thing in the morning.
Then I hear my sister cry in the room next door. In a matter of seconds, my mother opens her eyes, gives me a kiss on the forehead, and bounces out of bed. I hear her say, “Good morning my sweet Cecilia. I love you very much. Would you like to snuggle in sissy’s bed?” Cecilia giggles happily, and in a matter of seconds, we’re all cozily snuggled in my bed.
I love this moment. When I think of my childhood, this is the moment I want to remember.
After what feels like an hour of hazy early morning pillow talk, I declare that I’m starving as my tummy audibly grumbles. Cecilia giggles happily thinking about heading downstairs for breakfast. My mother is holding my baby sister, and I immediately feel a little jealous. I wish she was still holding me all the time. In a matter of seconds, I hear my mother say, “Cora, want to jump on my back?” She must have read my mind! Yes, yes, I do. And here we go down the stairs, just us girls.
Cecilia is in her highchair, and I’m in a big girl booster seat. In a matter of seconds, my mother comes and gives us apple juice and raspberries before she starts her morning ritual of eggs, toast, and sausage (or bacon). In between bites, I like to boop my sister’s nose and hide my face in our typical game of peek-a-boo. Breakfast is way more fun with a sister.
My mother is playing music on her cell phone while she cooks, sings, and dances. I love the sound of her voice. It makes me feel safe, loved, and fuzzy. She asks if I want to help her make coffee. Yes, yes, I do. She gives Cecelia an apple pouch and scoops me in her arms. She places me on the countertop, and I feel special. I know how to make coffee. My mother loves coffee. I know how to make something my mother loves.
Then we hear the toilet flush upstairs. In a matter of seconds, I’m back in my booster seat and my tummy starts to feel weird.
My mother turns the music off and begins to clear off the countertops. She quickly serves the second part of our breakfast, but the mood has changed and I’m not hungry anymore. Then we hear his footsteps on the stairs. He’s coming. In a matter of seconds, we all feel the pressure to be perfect.
Because we know what can happen in a matter of seconds.