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It's a hard life, but it's a good life...

Updated: May 1, 2022

Olivia stiffens her arms and hovers on her knees near the kitchen sink.

We've just finished breakfast and she isn't ready to commence with the responsibilities of the day.

"Olivia, mommy needs to clean these dishes- k?"

She shakes her head and flaps her arms disapprovingly.

"Olivia, Cocomelon is on..." I tilt my chin toward a familiar nursery rhyme. "Let mommy finish."

She looks up at me heartbroken, face wincing.

"Okay." I don't bother with a rinse, I wipe the suds on the bottom of my robe, and hoist her up from the floor. We walk, heavy, to the recliner and she burrows her face into my chest as I rock her.

This is part of our routine. No matter where I am, up to my elbows in dishes, or laundry, whether I be on an important phone call...when she feels particularly anxious or lonely...she seeks me out...and I (often as I can) drop what I'm doing to tend to her, even if it's just emotionally.

For almost five years, she's needed my husband and I without any autonomy of her own.

With my being the one to stay at home with Olivia, physically the brunt has fallen onto my shoulders, and I, in return, lean heavily on my husband for emotional fortification at the end of the day.

My body hurts. Joints, ligaments, inflammation, sciatica...

It's a hard life.

Olivia started school yesterday, half days.

She seemingly enjoyed herself, as much as we can interpret by her disposition, but was clinging to Keith and I all evening.

"...could she be any needier"...I think, cue Chandler Bing.

Yesterday evening, before bedtime, she kept pulling my face inches from hers, intently seeking out my expressions, tenderly staring into my eyes, nose, mouth...then she would grin, lean in for a kiss, and rest her head on my shoulder. She repeated this form of communication over and over. I lost count of the times. When she would stare, I was speechlessly overcome. I attempted to swallow back the tears by smiling, reassuring her (in our nonverbal way) that I would always, always be here for her, however, and whenever... for the rest of her days.

It's a good life.

Olivia Iris, our little zebra.

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