Hot coffee splashes onto my crisp, clean white shirt as I walk down our stairs bear-gripping each tot under an arm while juggling a chipped porcelain mug in my hand. I know it is a precarious feat to attempt, and silently curse our split level house every chaotic morning. But this particular morning, I was feeling naively optimistic and particularly stubborn to actually drink that cup of coffee, which requires I include it in my feeble, overstuffed wobble downstairs to the kitchen. Because otherwise, my coffee and I will not meet again until later that night, sitting cold and stale on my nightstand, taunting me until my eyelids droop into defeated sleep. You see, somehow that first sip of coffee always seems inches away from my lips when both toddlers jump into my bed early morning, wrapping me in hugs… when the demands begin to trigger off, fierce and unrelenting. Because it is morning, and I am needed right now.
So now covered in hot coffee, I run back upstairs to change clothes. I have two seconds to throw a shirt on, and the pile on my floor is closer than my closet. The kids have quickly gone from morning giggles to screaming bloody murder. Past evidence suggests they are just fine, but those piercing sounds rattle my paranoid mind. So the crumpled dirty shirt will have to suffice. Because it is morning, and I am needed right now.
I peek at the clock. How are we already running late? Frozen waffles must suffice. I grimace at the toaster, annoyed with myself. I really should be cooking a healthy breakfast. I add strawberries as if that will make up for my tower of deficiencies. Breakfast transforms into a battle of food wars, strawberries slung left and right, up and down; frozen waffles flung like saucers through the air. Or at least that’s what my floors will proclaim. Dirty dishes mountain in the sink. The survivalist coffee mug still lays on its side, coffee slowly dripping down the stairs. But it will all have to wait. Because it is morning, and I am needed right now.
I stuff their bags with lunch and snacks and race to search for pants, shirts, socks (any two will do) and shoes (preferably two matching) for each tiny soldier. We will definitely be late. Tackling each toddler to the ground, they shriek with laughter. Dressing one while the other takes off their clothes and runs away squealing, I catch the original culprit only to have the second one slither away. Why are toddlers so capable of undressing but not dressing? I retrieve the naked fugitives, close off their escape route, and again wrestle and dress the alligators toddlers. Herding the tiny fugitives towards the door, I glance over longingly at the coffee pot, fleetingly contemplate pouring the fresh brewed coffee into my travel mug, but retreat instead. Because it is morning, and I am needed right now.
We pull into school—late. I run in—two 32-lb toddlers squirming in my arms and two backpacks hoisted over each shoulder. They actually doknow how to walk, but they seem to suffer movement amnesia when we are in a hurry. I hug my son goodbye, twice. My heart sinks as he cries for me. Next stop. I run my daughter to preschool chapel. She looks up at me in anticipation, expecting me to go in with her and stay awhile, as I sometimes do. So I mentally remove items on my to-do list. Because it is morning, and I am needed right now.
We walk in hand in hand. “Good morning Lord. It’s a beautiful day,”tiny three-year old voices sing in unison. “Look mom it’s God.” She points to the cross; I smile. The morning slowly ticks away and I quietly leave as chapel winds down. Because it is no longer morning, and I am not needed here right now.
I run to a coffee shop to steal away some time to workwrite. Opening up my laptop, I sit down to sip my steaming coffee, but the cup is scalding so I reflexively recoil. All I can think of as I type is the chaos of my morning and the spilled coffee. I become so enamored in thought I don’t realize the truth my fingertips slowly, persistently reveal. Entranced in words and thought, my watch alarm dings, and I jump up, snapping back into reality. My coffee sits beside me now cold and untouched. But I must go as I will not be late. Because my watch reads half past noon, and I am needed right now.
Hoisting my computer bag over my shoulder, I collect my crumpled trash and cold coffee with a cheeky grin as I imagine my babies’ faces when they see me. It is truly my favorite part of the day. Pulling up to their school I cannot help but chuckle to myself when I think of the countless memes about mamas needing their coffee and ponder if this is because mamas never actually get to drinktheir coffee. I sprint to school, not because I am running late, but because I am that eager to see these beautiful children that call me Mama. And then as I am wholly embraced by my joy-filled babies, I think to myself, I’ll trade that hot coffee any day for the warmth my heart feels to be needed here right now.