You can feel the air getting a bit crisper, as it gains the edge of chill. Soon, the leaves will turn vibrant shades of orange before coming to lay delicate and brown on the ground. Autumn is settling in after a long, hot, summer.
A little boy clutches a sippy cup. His fingers rest firmly in his mouth, and though countless times a day he is asked to remove them, he can’t seem to shake the comfort of sucking on his tiny digits. His slightly older brother tolerates his presence, although an annoyed look flashes over the brother’s face as he scoots closer and closer until finally resting his head on his older sibling’s shoulder.
There is a gentle calm over the house. Parent’s describe days as ‘long’ because they are too mentally exhausted to search their brains for more descriptive words. My head rings out like the popular christmas song, ‘On The First Day Of Christmas’. Except, in my version, there are no turtle doves or partridges in pear trees. I tally the tantrums, messes and fights that have made me roll my eyes so hard a tiny voice rings in the back of my head.
“You keep rollin’ your eyes and they are gonna get stuck back there.”
Yes, messes of chicken fingers and tantrums over trains. Beautiful Jackson Pollack-esque murals of ketchup cover plates, tables and floors. I know if I dared lift a couch cushion, I would find soggy Cheerios from a morning of spilt cereal.
I will leave them for another day. Today has been long.
But, in this moment, it isn’t the Thomas the Tank Engine tucked in the cupboard captivating my thoughts. Even though the very same engine spawned two fights and a twenty-minute stream of tears. No, there is a brief moment, where a baby brother is allowed to rest his head on his older brother’s shoulder.
On the heels of change of season are new beginnings. In five days, the little boy clutching the sippy cup will stand at the door as his older brothers step onto a big yellow bus and into the great unknown that is preschool.
I don’t dwell too much on the impending school year. Wasting too many thoughts on it leaves me a mess of worry and anxiety. As with most things I fear might consume me with panic, I just let it go and let be.
It isn’t time to worry about first days and new friends.
No, right now I watch a brother’s face relax of it’s annoyance, as his head too comes down to rest on his baby brother’s head. I think about how moments like this are almost priceless and impossible to catch. I am an outsider looking into a beautiful moment between siblings; I dare not disturb it.
Heavy eyes beget heavy breathing, as each child slips into an easy sleep. They cuddle up close to each other without fighting over whether the other is touching their blanket.
A calm quiet has settled in. The open window welcomes cool air in, forcing the children closer together. The air kisses my skin, a welcome feeling after a summer filled with humidity and clothes sticking to skin.
There is a change in the air.
The sleeping children don’t know it. They are busy cuddled up and sleeping.
After all, it was a long day.