Budget and then Dance.

Her head is racing with the every day.

The laundry, the bills, the money that doesn’t add up and the babies who now run past and wave and blow kisses from the bus window. She is the Mother. The Wife. She is this Home. The wife who sends the quiet texts to the worried husband, the mother who bargains with the littlest to please, finally, for the love of God, take a nap, then shoos the dogs outside, and then takes the chicken out to thaw. She is all of those things.

But always she is still the baby that became the girl who became the woman and the wife and mother. There at the center of it all, is just This. Her. Beyond the babies and the thawing chicken is still this girl who obsesses over stories and characters. Who disappears in stacks of books, and listens to songs wondering what to do with this boy and girl circling in her brain. The girl who still loses her shit a little when a storm gets too close or too loud, who anxiously paces and plots, who talks too loudly, gesturing too wildly, and can never get the joke out past her shrieks of breathless laughter. She is the girl who sat by her locker, whispering with her One Best Friend, because she could only ever handle one at a time. The one who danced on mattresses with stickers on her face. The one who still cries when she’s just so damn angry and hates herself for the softness. The eternal middle child who pines away problems, always needing to solve, mediate, make things fair. The one who organizes her massive playlist according to mood and season, and when she’s gone to it, give her awhile to come back. The one with bright ideas, but usually, always too lazy to follow through. But, man. In her mind, she’s gone. She’s done it all, been everywhere.

She made beautiful, funny babies with a loyal, sweet man. She writes, and she reads and she fills her house that holds her name with books. She is letting the chicken thaw, wondering what she’ll make with it tonight. Maybe that dish her mom always made. She is waiting for the baby to wake up as she listens to that one playlist. She is smiling, her foot tapping.

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