she starts her morning blinking her big blue eyes, smiling toward the sunlight that scatters across her quilt. she has such joy to see me. her sweet coos are inviting. she still smells like last night's lavender and chamomile baby soap.
flash forward to 90 minutes later. i glance in the rear view mirror and notice that i forgot mascara again. my eyeliner is already just a faint smudge beneath my tired eyes, and my hair looks like the before pictures on some Oprah makeover rescue. oh god. i scrunch the back in hopes that maybe someone will think i cared.
and she yells. not screams. no crying. it's just a throaty, mid-range yell. the kind that grates on your nerves and feels like someone dragging the edge of a hammer down the side of an old rusty car. the butter knife screeching along mom's china plate. a cat falling slowly down a chalkboard, claws digging in the farther it falls.
"maddie, please," i turn to look at her. she looks... confused. maybe that's the face i have too. my confusion is "what's the point of yelling?" and i can't help but wonder if her face means, "why aren't you understanding me?"
we stare at each other for a moment. i'm pretty sure she gets how much it's irritating me and she silently agrees to give my ears a break. but it's not 30 seconds after i've turned back to look at the now backed up traffic and she starts again.
sometimes she even grunts for good measure.
really? i say it outloud, almost asking the world for some explanation.
this is not the morning i imagined at 630 when i hit my snooze button for the umpteenth time. i'm pretty sure the coffee i brought with me is cold because i forgot about it. my makeup is gone. my hair is a frightful mess. and my left contact keeps trying to jump out of my eye, forcing me to wink obsessively every 14 seconds. maddie's early morning charm wore off before she was in her high chair.
the traffic starts up again. her spontaneous, unpredictable "i'm a baby, hear me roar" calls have ceased. she has found her feet.
"i love you sweet girl," i turn and tickle her chubby thigh, soliciting a smile from that almost toothless mouth. i turn the dial up slightly to hear NPR's take on the latest international fiasco and we make the turn towards her playplace for the day.