Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” – T.S. Eliot in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a depressing poem, really, but that image about coffee spoons sticks in my memory. I don’t drink coffee, but I do have a cup of hot tea almost every morning. It is one of several small routines that bring enjoyment and mark the passing of days and years.

My mornings all look pretty similar. I wake before both of my daughters (usually) and have a few quiet minutes to shower and dress for the day. Then I slip out to the kitchen to heat a mug of water. I keep a variety of teas in jars on the counter: blackberry, pomegranate, peppermint, green, Earl Grey. I sweeten my tea with local honey.

By the time my tea is ready, my daughters, ages 2 and 6, are awake. The three of us crowd into the recliner in the living room. They watch cartoons on PBS while I sip and check e-mail and Facebook, and perhaps post something to Mumbling Mommy’s Facebook page. This brief time is golden, snuggled with my girls, enjoying a comforting cup before the day really gets going and before I have to make breakfast and get my older daughter off to school. On weekends, I get to prolong these moments, lingering for an hour with my daughters while the cartoons play.

Weekends have their own routine. I do most of the cooking on weekdays, but Saturday is the day my husband cooks a big, delicious breakfast. The cereal that is a weekday staple sits forgotten in the cupboard while eggs, sausage, or French toast – or sometimes all three – fry on the stovetop. Hash browns get crispy in the oven. Sometimes there are English muffins or bagels. We eat all the breakfast foods that are rich and not so healthy on Saturdays, and we get to eat with my husband, who is usually already at work by the time we eat breakfast on weekdays.

One of my favorite routines is reading to my daughters at bedtime. We read a lot of great picture books, but my oldest is discovering the new world of chapter books. I’m currently reading C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to her. Bedtime reading sessions have become more interesting as her interests in literature have grown and deepened. We rarely miss our reading time together. Even if we’re out of town or on vacation, we bring along a few books for bedtime.

If there is anything I’ve noticed in these routines, it is that time passes quickly. My husband and I have known each other for more than 10 years, and we will have been married eight years this June. In that time, we’ve purchased our first house and had two daughters. Time marches quietly and steadily on, and we hardly realize how much we have changed until we stop to look back at where we came from.

When I pause to look back, I see how meaningful those years filled with quiet, ordinary moments have been. I count out the days of my life in tea spoons, in omelets and French toast around the family table, and in snuggles and children’s books. I cannot think of a life more common or beautiful.


Category: Life Changes

Tags: bedtime stories