Be grateful, be grateful, be grateful {Just Write}

We're wide awake at 3 a.m. The girl keeps kicking me, tossing and turning and asking in a too loud voice whether the "fireworks" are coming closer. The boy keeps burrowing closer, and when I ask him for a bit of room, he blames the dog. He can't move; she's in his way. I'm sandwiched good and tight between these two flannel-clad little heaters, and a king sized bed never felt so small.

For two hours, I'm awake. First she needs a drink. Then he's scared. She can't sleep. He can't pull the covers up because the dog is on them. She doesn't like the thunder. He doesn't like the lightning. And I don't like any of it.

The last straw lands on my side in the form of a little girl's arm. She's reaching over and touching her brother's face. On purpose. "Stop it!!" he yells (right in my ear). "MAAAWM, she's TOUCHING ME!"

Groggily, I lecture myself in a chant. Be grateful, be grateful, be grateful. I try to name the good, things like the dry, warm house, the soft bed. The fact that the soft bed is too crowded, is that really a problem? Of course it isn't, and I know that. But I want to sleep in peace, and I want to snap at the children who refuse to accommodate me. But they are my treasures, and this is my privilege. Be grateful, be grateful, be grateful....

The alarm interrupts a dream in which we have lost the backpack, the lunches aren't packed, no one has had breakfast, and we're late for school. Also? I'm supposed to be in DC already, and they're waiting for me at the starting line, but I don't even know where my shoes are, and I never picked up my bib.

Morning arrives, mercifully, miraculously. We aren't late for anything, not yet. Only a bit tired. The sun streams so bright that even the mud puddles glisten. Be grateful, be grateful, be grateful.

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