Pam reclined in the rocking chair in the makeshift nursery, watching through bleary eyes as the first wisps of sunlight decorated her year outside. As she rocked, she fingered Philip, admiring his ten day old face, with its thin layer of baby acne and papery skin. The infant let out a small sigh, twisting in his blanket. Pam felt her eyes droop, but pried them open again for her son’s sake. Never sleep with a bay in your arms, she reminded herself. A direct quote from the parenting book.
Instead, Pam focused herself on today’s list of chores. Pry the plastic containers from the haphazard piles of toys and baby supplies, bring a vacuum to the crumb infested carpet in the living room, throw together something that resembled dinner by the time Jim got home. Pam felt sleep tugging at her eyelids again, but she hadn’t more than drifted off when she heard the soft pat of bare feet approaching down the hall. The ruffled head of Cece poked through the doorway.
Pam smiled at her daughter, gesturing her to come in. Cece gave a drowsy smile to her new baby brother, and met her mother’s eyes.
“Morning?” she asked.
“Almost,” Pam whispered back. “Come sleep in here with us for a while.” Cece bobbed her head, pulling her fuzzy body up next to Pam on the rocking chair. Her soft blonde curls piled on Pam’s shoulder, and for the first time that morning, Pam found herself able to sleep.
“Mommy, Mommy!” Cece’s shrill voice woke Pam. “Mommy, the baby’s crying.” Sure enough, little Phillip was letting out his soft newborn cries, a sure sign that he was hungry. And Cece was too.
Pam sighed to herself. It had seemed like a good idea to let Cece stay home with Pam and the new baby, but everyone, including Cece herself, wished she was back in daycare. Two kids all day was just too much to handle for a sleep deprived mother. Pam stumbled down the hallway with Philip in her arms and Cece at her heels, grabbing half of a stale box of cereal and planting her daughter in front of the television. Then she nestled into the armchair in the living room to feed Philip, letting her eyes glaze over as some musical kids show played across the T.V. screen. It was then that she noticed a slip of pink paper on the coffee table next to her, black pen scribbled across it. Pam reached for it, praying it wasn’t another bill, and scanned the paper, trying with great effort not fall asleep through the effort.
‘Pam,’ the letter read. ‘Sorry I missed you, everyone was still asleep when I left, and I thought I’d leave it that way. But the good news is I think I’ll make it home for lunch. Michael’s taking the entire accounting department to Hooter’s for lunch (don’t ask, it’s a long story), so I should have some time. See you then, Love Jim.’ Pam smiled at this hastily written note, and suddenly she was taken back several years.
I tried to make my timeline as accurate as possible, but dome moments may be slightly in the wrong time. Please let me know!