I must preface this by making it known that Elise is the caregiver of our house, and she should win some sort of award for the almost 4 years that she’s been a mother. In fact, she sets her alarm every night so she can get up at 5:30 a.m. to post a note by my bathroom sink that reads: “There might be a blonde child in the kitchen when you get up for work. She’ll be hungry. She is your daughter. Her name is Maly. She thinks you’re a funny guy.”
Yesterday morning Elise got up extra early, but not so she could leave me a note – she had an early morning photo shoot with our friend Marc. This meant that she was extra tired at the end of the day and zonked out early in the evening.
Around midnight, I heard a noise. And then another noise. It was a sound that I’m all too familiar. It sounded like someone was making frozen kiwi margaritas with orange zest in the guest bathroom. I lifted my head from my pillow and listened more. The cabinet door closed. I listened more. More.
“You hear that?” I whispered to Elise.
I hopped out of bed and headed toward the other side of the house. Maly’s light was on. As I walked closer to her room, I saw her standing before her dresser with no pajamas on her body.
“What’s wrong, Sugar?”
“I pee peed.”
“In your bed?”
“That’s okay. It was an accident. We’ll fix it.”
She’d already gone into the bathroom, disrobed, made herself a kiwi margarita and was trying to fix her accident in a weary stupor herself before I came around. I picked her up and took her to our bedroom where I got her a clean pull-up diaper. I carried her back to her room and put clean pajamas on her. I didn’t want to put her down in order change her bed. Instead, I one-handedly pulled the sheet and mattress cover off of her bed and headed to the laundry room.
“Do you just want to sleep with Mommy and Daddy tonight?”
So we laid down in our bed. For 30 minutes.
She rolled over. And rolled over. And kicked me in the kidney. And slapped me in the ear. And coughed on my head. And rolled over.
30 minutes later.
“I can’t get compertable.”
“Want Daddy to take you back to your room?”
I got out of bed again.
“Hang on, Sugar. I need to go fix your bed.”
I walked to the laundry room, got a fresh pair of sheets and fixed her bed. I then went back to our room, picked up the child and took her back into her room.
I laid her down in her bed, covered her with her special butterfly blanket and stroked her head for a minute.
“How are the margaritas?”
“Nevermind. You okay?”
Since I was up, I sat on the floor, rested my back against the side of her bed and stared out into nothing. I caught myself looking up toward the corner of her window, patiently mesmerized by the angled shadow cast from the streetlight passing through the blinds.
I looked over my shoulder at my daughter, who had fast fallen asleep. I looked back up at that window’s corner.
I sat there quietly for ten minutes. And that’s about the time I was reminded of why I’m here right now.