The house is quiet right now â€“ sound-tracked by the clicking of my keyboard, two large snoring dogs (one comfortably lounging on his back, legs splayed to the world) and the faint buzz of the baby monitor humming a Disney classical playlist.
Now is the time between the muppets bedtime and my bedtime. As tired as we are at the end of the day, these three hours are the quiet time to reflect on the days, months and years rapidly passing us by.
With (usually) only minimal interruptions, itâ€™s decision time.
I could read one of the 27 books waiting for me on my iPad, or one of the dead-tree collections calling to me from the office bookshelf. I could catch up on my People Magazine, so I know who the latest celebrities are, or a Real Simple, with its pretty recipe pictures of meals Iâ€™ll most certainly never make.
There are TV shows to watch (and we just got a slew of new channels. Itâ€™s a whole new world with NatGeo and Science Channel). Or I could watch the Aâ€™s choke and lose another game if Gleeâ€™s not new. There is always housework or work to be done, but who wants to do that when thereâ€™s a comfy reclining couch awaiting my cute little tushy.
So what do I do? If I still have functioning brain cells, I write. I write about the boys â€“ sharing their story with you. Sometimes Iâ€™ll work on The Book (and daydream about being a published author).
In these quiet hours, on this blank space, I reflect on how far weâ€™ve come. From the decision to become parents, through the tumultuous months the muppets and I shared in baby jail, to today â€“ with two rambunctious toddlers finger painting at school.
And after a long day, my thoughts are often a bit scrambled. â€œWho am I? Where am I?â€ And this is when it occurs to me. I have two little boys. I am a mother of two â€“ a working mommy.
How am I old enough to have a family of my own? Shouldnâ€™t I still be complaining about how I know so much more than my parents? The exhaustion and enjoyment provided by the blessing of toddlers leaves little else to focus on.
The aforementioned text message was sent to me by Auntie Beeeca. Wasnâ€™t it just yesterday we were two 17-year-olds facing each other in a hallway? We were the youngest on the floor, two kids just looking to start out on our own (coddled by our 11-story dorm building).
I was a theatre major in college. (Yes, the stereotypes are true â€“ theatre majors are weird. But donâ€™t worry, I was also a comm major.) Today, I make Oscar-caliber use of the Beginning Acting classes I took.
I play the role of a grown up. I pretend to have it all together, to be organized and know exactly whatâ€™s coming next.
Sometimes I fear people will figure me out â€“ that theyâ€™ll realize Iâ€™m still just a kid, figuring it out as I go along. But maybe we all are.
I think, perhaps, we all have a secret identity. This is mine.
So tonight, in the hours between the muppets bedtime and mine, I close my eyes and relax in the daydream of a tropical paradise â€“ digitally anyway. Iâ€™d never want to really leave, the muppets still think Iâ€™m pretty smart and special.