The Morning After

My alarm is the sound of a Taboo Game button which I must have accidentally packed in last night's hurry to get out my parents' door and into the car, onto the road where we would move slowwwwly up the 5, bumper to bumper, The Sound of Music soundtrack on repeat.

How do you solve a problem like Easter Sunday night after Spring Break traffffffiiiiiccccc. How do you find a word that means, Exhausted beyond measurrrreeee...

We got home just before midnight. Three of the four kids transferred into their beds. (There's always one who does not. It's like clockwork. While being transferred from carseat to bed, one child will fall completely apart.) And so, for 45 minutes, Bo cried (wailed) and "shhhhh... it's okay, you're home now" as I:

- Separated the dirty clothes from the clean.

- Spilled pockets of sand in the bed on accident.

-Hung creased dresses on hangers in the pitch darkness while singing "Let it Go" for the tenth time because that is the song that was requested.

And finally:

- Listened to her breath become heavy.

- Recognized she was finally asleep.

- Carefully lifted her out of our bed and into hers.

- High-fived Hal for a successful transfer mission.

"Nice work team, goodnight."


That was last night, relatively painless in comparison to this morning with this goddamn Taboo button that is killing me slowly. Archer's awake but barely. His shirt is on inside out and backwards and he becomes furious with me when I mention that, well, "your shirt is... it's cool if you want it to look like that but you may want to..."

He storms off toward the bathroom, slamming the door. 

Meanwhile, Fable is still asleep even though I've pulled every cover off of her bed, sat her up against the wall and attempted to help pull her arms out of her pajama sleeves. And Bo is pressing the Taboo button like it's the funniest thing ever.

"Good morning, kids" she says as Tamara pushes open the front door. Beep beep beeeeeeeeep.

And now Revi is screaming to be held. She was incredibly clingy all week and now, when I try to pass her over to Tamara she screams for me.

Mama only this morning.

And the taboo button goes right on beeping and somehow Archer's folder got stuck in his backpack zipper and ripped in half and it needs to be repaired and a long lost piece of homework that has not been finished emerges and "Mom? Have you seen my script?" and Fable finally wanders out of her room half-dressed and in desperate need of the rainbow sock with the hearts on it and MOM, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A SOCK MONSTER, STOP SAYING THAT ALL THE TIME! and Revi will not be put down and now she is screaming because she wants toast but the toast I just made her is all wrong because what she really wants is COLD TOAST NO HOT TOAST NO COLD TOAST NO HOT TOAST and I'm trying to Keep Calm and Tape Archer's Folder Back Together.

As Bo holds down the Taboo button.

And Fable needs toilet paper.

And Revi throws the toast on the ground.

And Zadie eats the toast because she's a dog.

And Revi decides the now-eaten toast is the only thing in the world she has ever wanted.

And I am suddenly in desperate need of a paper bag to breathe into and Revi, can I please put you down for two seconds so I can pee? 


Mom, where's my script?

Mom, where's my sock?

Don't put me down! Don't put me down, mama!

Can you braid my hair?

Where's my water bottle?



"TURN OFF THAT FUCKING TABOO BUZZER!" I finally say because, seriously with that thing, what the fucking fuck.

And then, Fable appears.

She has found the sock.

The toilet paper, too. (It was on the toilet where it always is.)

And as I'm taping Archer's folder back together with Bo attached to my leg (sobbing because I have taken away her TABOO buzzer) and Revi in my arms screaming about needing a band-aid for the boo-boo she got yesterday (the toast incident was so five seconds ago), Fable presses a post-it note to my chest and walks away.

The note shows two girls high-fiving each other and it says, "YOU ROCK" in all caps and in the middle of the beeping and the crying and door-slamming and cold hot cold hot toast, and life and life and life, I have found the paper bag I've been needing to breathe into since 6:36 this morning.

And it's a neon yellow post-it.


The kids are ten minutes late to school. Usually this concerns me, but today I'm amazed (impressed) we made it to school at all. We're all exhausted with hair askew and swollen eyes when I park the car and fish the kids out of the backseat.

"I know, I know. Me, too. I know."

I fill out their tardy slips and hug them both goodbye, but before we go our separate ways, we bring it in for a high (low) five.

Some mornings, when survived, deserve to be celebrated. Even if just for a moment.