“I am completely exhausted. I am going upstairs to take a nap for one hour. I do not want to hear any noise from any of you, especially fighting. Do you understand?” Michele let her gaze fall on each of her children long enough for them to nod a solemn, wide-eyed, “Yes.” Mommy never took naps--she MUST be really tired!
“Good. We’re all thankful that Mommy doesn’t have to work a double-shift very often, but this time I had no choice. You can watch “Night at the Museum-Battle of the Smithsonian” and have popcorn. Kristen, you’re in charge but no bossing. James, Cassandra, you listen to her. Ok, I’m going to close my door now. I will come out in exactly one hour. Unless someone is bleeding, or the house is on fire, no one better knock on this door.”
With that, she closed the door and collapsed into the softness of her favorite comforter, a warm breeze blowing the curtains gently in the afternoon quiet. As her head became one with the pillow, she sighed deeply and peered at the clock, “Three o'clock. Please, Lord, just one hour--that’s all I ask.”
The door creaked and Michele’s eyes popped open. Grrr. In sauntered their aging shepherd Buddy. Still nimble enough to jump onto the bed, he had plans for a nap of his own. “Oh, how did I not close it tightly? That’s ok-3:03-I still have 57 minutes.” She got up to secure the door against any further intrusions on this precious time. Curled up once again, she quickly fell into what felt like a coma.
“Mom! Mom! Are you awake?” Michele blinked, unable to lift her head from the pillow. She focused enough to see that it was now 3:17, and let her eyes fall shut again.
“Mom--Lauren called and wants me to go to the mall with them but they’re leaving at 3:30 so I couldn’t wait until you woke up to ask you. I mean, I know it’s not an emergency or anything, but…Mom?”
Grrr. Without speaking, Michele raised her arm enough to point her thirteen year old daughter back through the door, thankful for the “click” as it closed. “I can’t Lauren, no, she didn’t exactly SAY “No,” but…” Kristen’s voice faded as she clumped back down the stairs.
The warm turquoise water splashed onto her legs as she basked in the tropical sun, her beach chair resting at the water’s edge. “Your raspberry iced-tea, Miss-” (Did this gorgeous young waiter really just call her, “Miss?”) “with extra lemon and ice, just as you ordered. Is there anything else I can do for you, anything at all?” Michele squinted into the sun’s glare as she turned to reach up for the drink…wait…was it spilling? Something was spilling…
“…then Cassandra spilled her drink Mom-all over the couch. What should I use to get grape soda out? Mom? Can you hear…me….Mom?” Grrr. James backed out of the room as he finished speaking, softly closing the door. “Please, God, let there by a half-hour left--just a half hour--that’s all I ask--3:35--ok--not bad--I’ll take it.”
Michele settled in for one last attempt at sleep, squishing her pillow until it molded against her face just the right way.
Was there another spill? And what was that noise--something bumping at the door? She lifted her now pounding head and felt a string of drool from her mouth to the pillow. “Yuck! Well, at least I must have been sleeping.!” Stretching, Michele spotted a wrinkled envelope just inside her door. She knew right away that Cassandra must have bumped up against the door while slipping this underneath. Opening it, she pulled out a vibrantly colored picture with the words, “MOMMY--you said not to knock but it’s four o’clock--can you get up now please? PS-Kristen helped me spell everything right and it even rhymes too!” The scented colors emanating from the drawing meant only one thing-Cassandra had opened her new school markers. Michele hoped this masterpiece wasn’t created on the couch next to the grape soda.
“Mommy! You’re up!” Cassandra whooped when she heard her mom's footsteps coming down the stairs. “Did you have a good nap?”
“What? How could I? You each woke me up for something different!” Grrr, with a smile. “But, Mommy,” her youngest daughter chirped, “You didn’t say not to wake you up! You only said not to knock on the door!”
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