12-Minute Memoir: Voices


start - 9:52 pm

I'm fine at daycare drop-off in the mornings. I'm generally fine all day at work. The guilt hits me as I'm pulling out of my office parking lot and heading toward the daycare. You know you've been gone all day, something whispers. You've been gone a really long time. Just think about all the stuff they did without you. Doesn't that make you sad?

It feels like every car is intentionally driving slow just to get in my way. I've tried a million different routes home to find the quickest one, avoiding the construction spots and the long traffic lights. I pull into the daycare parking lot and can only partially resist the urge to sprint down the hall, resulting in an awkward half-run.

"Mommy! Mommy!" R spots me instantly and sprints in my direction, her hair pulled back in pigtails that her teachers must have done because this morning was nuts and I gave myself a pat on the back just for finding a second to run a comb through her tangles. But you didn't have time to brush her teeth. Again.

This week they are learning about the ocean. She is excited to show me the whale she painted in class that day. "It's blue! It have glitter on it!"

J nearly jumps out of the bouncy seat in excitement when I walk in. I scoop him up and carry him on one hip while holding R's hand and balancing two bags on my shoulder.

As my seatbelt clicks shut, I glance in my rearview mirror. R has already pulled off her shoes and socks, and my car instantly smells like feet. J gives me the widest dimpled grin, his eyelids already drooping in exhaustion. He doesn't nap as well as he does at home and is tired by the end of the day. He would have gotten more sleep if he were home with you.

I take a deep breath and let out a large sigh. I feel as though I've found something that has been missing all day long.

I drive home slower now, calmer, sneaking glances in my mirror to watch them, turning down the radio to hear them. Their babbles and songs fill my car and drown out the other, unwelcome voices. At least for today.

You're a good mom. You're a good mom. You're a good mom.

end - 10:04

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