I'm deeply asleep, and the alarm goes off. It's still dark out; Steve has an early meeting today.
"Greta, it's 5:45am," I mumble, "go back to sleep."
"I can't," she says. "I'm going downstairs."
"Okay, but please don't wake up your brother."
"I awake Momma!" Finn cries, and follows Greta downstairs.
I sigh, roll over, and try to go back to sleep. Steve is cursing because he doesn't have any clean undershirts, the dog starts barking to go out, and the kids start fighting over the computer.
I'm not getting up, I think. I just can't.
I hear Steve's car pull down the driveway, and look at the clock: 6:15am. "MOM! How much time do we have now?" Greta screams. The dog is still barking. I curl up in a ball; I can't face the day. I start to drift back to sleep, safe in the knowledge that my alarm will wake me by 7:15am, plenty of time to get Greta on the bus. It is quiet-ish downstairs, and I sink back into blackness.
"WOMAN! WOOOOOMAN! WOOMANNNN!" I jerk awake. The kids are on the computer, giggling over the Muppets. "WOMANN!!" It is Animal, the crazy muppet drummer, and he has ruined any chance of catching another hour of sleep.
I hear a SMACK, followed by "MOOOOM! Finn hit me! How much time do we have NOW?"
The dog is still barking, and irritation settles over me like a black cloud. Go away, all of you, I think. Go away and leave me alone.
I lie in my bed, bitter and tired, and then I realize: I don't hear it. For the past two days rain has pounded on our roof, relentlessly, filling our yard and our basement with muddy, stinking water. But this morning, there is no rain.
The dog barks, more urgently now, and Greta and Finn are arguing. I sigh, and swing my legs over the side of the bed. "MOM!! How much time NOW??"
I pull on sweatpants and a sweatshirt, as the kids' arguing gains momentum. "MOM!" "MOM!" It is Finn. "Gweta won't turn off the computah, she's wasting electwicity and wuining da earf!!!"
I bury my face in my hands. I am cranky, fed-up, tired. Every day feels just like the last day, an endless stretch of menial chores, breaking up fights, picking up after the kids who have been stuck inside for days. I can't face it.
And then I hear it, a muffled song: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halllleluuuuuuuuujah!
It takes me a moment to orient myself, to realize the sound is coming from outside. I shuffle downstairs and peek out the door. Greta and Finn are in the front yard, in their pajamas and barefoot. They are smiling from ear to ear, pointing to a bushel of daffodils that were only buds yesterday, but this morning are bright yellow blooms. "Hallelujah!" Greta yells. "Spring is HERE!"
I smile, and look skyward.