This afternoon, work got a little hectic right around quittin' time. I needed to stay late, which meant I had to ask Matt to leave early and pick up Lindsey from daycare. Stress stress deadline grumble grumble.
Finally left work an hour later. Confidently got on I-35 (rather than taking the longer way around), thinking that since rush hour was over, it'd be a quick, breezy drive home. Cut to massive, standstill traffic. Stress stress stupid highway grumble grumble.
Got home to find Lindsey ready for her evening sippy of milk. Matt handed her off to me so he could log in and finish some work. He'd done all the hard work of getting her home, fed and changed, just for me to swoop in and steal the snuggles afterwards. Guilt guilt bad mommy guilt guilt.
And then, it happened.
As Lindsey chugged down her milk and we snuggled on the couch, I leaned in to kiss her head. There it was: the smell of sunscreen, left over from playing outside at daycare. My eyes closed. All that stress and guilt were gone, and I was instantly 7 years old at the pool. I was shrieking at the coldness of the water, doing handstand contests with my friends, splashing in the deep end, scorching my feet on the sun-baked concrete. I heard the kids laughing, the lifeguard whistles, cheesy pop radio over the loudspeakers.
Smiling, I opened my eyes briefly, then rested my cheek against Lindsey's head and breathed deep. "How would you like to go swimming this weekend, baby girl?"