This morning I am still tired, as I am so often these days upon waking. The snow that was on the skylight at bedtime, reminding me to get up this morning in time to shovel, has turned to rain. The e-mail from another school parent that arrived just minutes ago asks the school if the ski trip would be delayed since there is a winter weather advisory near the ski hill and local schools there have delays. I think to forward this e-mail to my children’s father, to suggest he check on things before sending the kids off to school, think of my son, who will be driving his sister and brother to school for the first time in snow, then realize they have gone, their father and his new wife have gotten the children up in the dark and put them on the road, in whatever conditions existed at 6:30, when I did in fact wake up, out of a deep sleep, not to wake the children, but to wonder why I was awake an hour before my alarm was to go off, since I had showered the night before, and fallen exhausted into bed ahead of my usual schedule. Perhaps I woke up at 6:30 in solidarity with my kids. More likely I woke up at 6:30 because it is my pattern.

Last year I had the kids here every other Monday, so Tuesday morning ski days were mine half time. I’d get the boys up, make them egg sandwiches and hot chocolate in paper travel cups I’d saved to reuse, drive them to a teenage driver’s place nearby, thank him for his care and wish them well, say good-bye in the dark, worrying each time that something would happen on the early morning drive or on the mountain, leaving my daughter in bed for a few minutes while I was away, then going home to wake her up and take her to school across town.  This year all of that is gone, school across town no longer hers, driving my kids to carpool or school no longer my job, kids sleeping at my house on Mondays no longer our routine, no hot chocolate, no egg sandwiches to ease the loss, to protect the boys from hunger, if not danger, only a short blog entry across town, too late, as they are already at school I realize before writing here, the mother who was writing must have checked the weather after sending her boys and girl off, too, and was wondering how they were.

There’s a siren in the distance, or several. The rain falls heavy on the rooftops. I’m under warm and heavy covers, flannel flowers and a quilt, in pajamas so cozy I think I’ll leave them on under my clothes as the day care kids often do, when I rise, momentarily, add a few layers, walk down three flights of stairs to the sidewalk, and shovel the snow on the walk on my own, quickly, if I can, before Liana and the day care families arrive, filling my house for the day, while my children snowboard in the snow and rain and my oldest drives and the younger ones sleep in the car and all three sleep on the bus if they are tired, heads tilted back, mouths slack, same as when they were small.