Note: Sometimes I write stories, sometimes true, sometimes false, sometimes both or neither.
Jess turned off the alarm and checked her email with one eye open. No new comments on her latest blog post.
She tried some basic math, calculating her return on investment. Hand stamping the placecards PLUS crafting the centerpiece PLUS ironing the tablecloth PLUS styling the table PLUS taking and editing the photos PLUS writing the blog post EQUALS.... eight hours.
That's three more hours than comments.
Deflated and still waking up, she forgot to sidestep the squeaky floorboard in the hall as she crept into the bathroom. The baby coughed and murmured, and she hurried to jump into the shower before he fully awoke and began crying for her.
That was her rule: if she got into the shower before he started crying, she could feel only moderate guilt for leaving him to cry in his crib while she had a quick but semi-quiet shower. But if he started crying before she had a chance to close the curtain, well, then she had to go tend to him, change his diaper, set him up with toys on the bathroom floor, and then shower with the curtain half open so they could both keep an eye on one another. Despite that accompanying guilt, oh burden of motherhood, she strongly preferred to shower alone.
Later, while Jess blow-dried her hair -- nothing fancy, just drying it enough to avoid catching pneumonia while she buckled him into his car seat -- he cried because she wasn't holding him and then spilled eight dollars' worth of organic baby shampoo onto the bathroom floor. She tried, fruitlessly, to suction it up with a medicine dropper and return it to the bottle. He cried even harder as she blocked him from playing in the puddle, and she started sweating in her business casual cardigan while mopping up the soap suds with a monogrammed hand towel. I love you, she told him, but I'm not very happy that you made this mess.
At daycare, he giggled at the sight of his buddies at play and toddled over to them before Jess could get his coat off. She smiled, happy that he was happy. As she was leaving, she called out, Goodbye! Mommy loves you! Can you say 'love you'?
Luvoo, he said, running back and reaching up for a hug. Her heart swelled, half with happiness, half with sadness, and she didn't notice that he'd wiped his nose on her shoulder until later that morning.
After over a year, she would write on her blog during her lunch break, I am finally figuring this mom thing out. You just have to lower your standards.
Nobody would comment, but she felt she turned a corner.
Question: Do you like stories? Would you want to read more of them, sometimes?