By This is Childhood contributing author, Amanda Magee
I’m sitting upstairs in bed; back propped up with pillows, feet enveloped in ridiculously thick winter socks, and the loving directive from my husband ringing in my ears, “Just go take some time.” He’d started a movie for the girls and they’d curled up like kittens to watch. Jimmy Fallon’s voice popping in and out, every so often followed by the girls’ laughter, tinkley layers of giggles peppered with shrieked guffaws.
I’ve been wishing to carve out more time to write about our life. The conflict of loving them and needing time away from them makes my cheeks burn and my heart ache. Beyond the screen of my laptop I can see the hallway, a picture hangs there, canvas stretched taut over a wooden frame, in it Finley runs, arms outstretched into the impossibly magnificent sunset on the beach. Can I really love them if sitting in the quiet of my own room brings me such pleasure?
The doubt that took root the moment I first became pregnant, the one that keeps a tally of my triumphs and always seems to measure them as being less frequent than my foibles, whispers to me, “Shouldn’t you be down there? If you love her so much, if this photo is so magical, why aren’t you cutting craft paper and making holiday decorations with her? Why do you always say maybe or later?”
The cursor blinks like foot tapping, what am I doing? The whine of a power tool thrums outside the window, a dog barks, and there is singing. I sit up and realize that I can no longer hear the movie. I wonder what they are doing and begin to set my laptop aside. I swing my legs off the bed and just before my feet touch the floor I hear them.