The same ol’, same ol’

Most days, we go about our business. We are people of repeat. Of routine. Of monotony.

Such a milquetoast approach to living makes sense, when you think about what a baby typically needs. Order is the name of the game and, quite frankly, we’re just old enough to be more than happy to deliver that up to her on silver platter. I like the dependability that comes from our lives right now. No matter what happens, I know that come 9 p.m. tonight? I’m curling up in our bed, big glass of water in one hand, iPad in the other, snuggling up with another episode of Wonder Years and the knowledge that my husband is downstairs making coffee for tomorrow and my daughter is sleeping just steps away in her crib.

I don’t think about any of this much. Really I don’t. Routine lends itself to the luxury of not having to think. There is such blessing in that, such freedom.

But there are times when it all overwhelms me with its grace. Like when Abigail and I are half-way through bathtime, and all of its songs and habits, that I feel humbled by the gift of this experience. To watch as she figures out how the water jettisons from her ducky tub with each slap of her chubby little palms against the soap-bubbly surface. To be the recipient of that big gummy smile as soon as she hears me sing, “The sun’ll come out…,” a tune that is quickly challenging The Alphabet Song for seniority in her heart. To lock eyes with her in the quiet, dim-lit room afterward, post-bottle, pre-bedtime, as she stretches out her tiny little arm, insisting that I let her put her fist in my mouth to 1) let her excavate around my teeth and 2) pretend I’m eating her hand.

This is her new favorite bedtime thing, by the way.

It becomes harder and harder, each day, to leave her behind for the outside world. I do it because I enjoy my work, I enjoy working, and because of the life it helps to provide for her and my family. My working is tangled up in a lot of emotions about what I hope for Abigail, beyond just the need to pay the bills and spend my hours contributing in some small way to the world at large, no matter how nominal. I don’t kid myself, of course. I am not curing cancer. Just the same, I don’t think if I was actually curing cancer it would change how hard it is to kiss Abigail goodbye in the mornings and not see her for several hours in the day.

So I cling to and count on those moments of quiet repetition, knowing that somewhere among the spaces of doldrums and boring also exists a place where my daughter and I meet and laugh and play and learn and sing until the sun comes up to start it all over again.