I like it that way.
I like the quiet, the calm, the stillness in our house.
I love opening the curtains to the early morning sun, putting the tea kettle on, setting out bowls of oatmeal and little cups of milk.
I love laying out school uniforms, packing lunch boxes, watching the early morning news.
At night, I love dimming the lights, turning off diffusers, and locking the back door.
I love putting an extra blanket on sleeping girls, putting Barbies back in their mansion, placing baby dolls carefully into their cribs.
I love seeing our home in all of its chaotic glory: the wear and tear brought on by our family of five more visible when no one else is up yet.
Crayon markings on the walls in the hallway, cheerios spilled behind the rocking chair, socks left strewn on the floor in the office.
Fingerprints all over the TV, crayons left on the floor under the dining room table, bracelets and ponytail holders and barrettes in every nook and cranny imaginable.
I try to overlook the pile of clothes that needs folding as I walk by the laundry room. I never can, stopping instead to fold each piece with as much precision as I did when I was in the military.
Dishes to be washed, letters to be mailed, dinner to be planned.
This beautiful, exhausting, rewarding, perfectly imperfect family life.
The morning and evening rituals that fill me with pride and love and a sense of purpose.
These small, simple, and never ending tasks that no one really notices or thinks about too often but makes them feel loved and nurtured anyway.
I am the first to wake up in the morning and the last to go to bed at night.
And for that I am so blessed.