This is the next chapter of my story. To read the previous chapter or to start at the beginning, click HERE.
I could hear the boys stirring in their room and my step-daughter’s alarm ringing. I pretended I could sleep a while longer, lying in bed, snuggled down in my blankets. My husband was already up making coffee and getting ready for work. I could hear him downstairs in the kitchen. It was an old house and every move anyone made anywhere echoed quiet creaks through the wood slats and plaster. My boys came running in to crawl in bed with me as per their usual routine. It was 5:30 am and still dark. Sometimes I could get them to settle down with me and go back to sleep but not today. The giggling and poking each other had already begun and my older son wanted his “coffee” which he would not accept from his Dad. Kids. I swung my legs out of bed in an exaggerated manner and threw on some sweat pants to follow them down the stairs. They ran ahead chattering back and forth with each other, my older son with his mouse tucked under his chin and my younger with the corner of his blankie in his mouth. I warned them to be careful as they headed to the top of the stairs. My step-daughter passed us with a grumbly morning “Hi” as she headed for the bathroom, the first step toward getting ready for school.
In the kitchen I found my husband getting some coffee and offering me a cup. I took it and smiled. One spoon of sugar already in the cup and a spoon to cool it. He loves me. My older son clamored to the fridge and lugged out the gallon of milk. I took it from his small hands and poured them both a cup of milk over chocolate syrup, twisted the sippy lid on, and shook it vigorously. Little hands reached up for their favorite morning ritual.
Walking back to the living room I heard my mother-in-law’s TV in the next room. She was up early. Maybe she was planning on doing the school run today instead of Dad? He usually dropped her off at school and then drove to work but sometimes she would do it for him if he had an early meeting. One of the perks of having an extra adult in the house. Getting our younger two up and out the door to the car just to drive their sister 40 minutes to school and head home wasn’t fun. It could be done, but no one wanted to if it could be avoided.
I was tired and not feeling well. I hadn’t slept well due to a sore throat and itchy ears, a good spring cold in the making. I told my husband and asked how his daughter was getting to school. He was planning on taking her. I opened the door to Mom’s living room and asked if she could look after the boys so I could go back to bed for a bit. She cheerfully agreed. The boys were tucked onto the couch, chocolate “coffee” in hand, watching cartoons. I kissed them both and headed back upstairs to my bed, passing dear daughter on her way down to the living room for breakfast. I climbed back in my bed, sweatpants and all, and went right back to sleep.
To read the next chapter, click HERE.