Daily Ritual

Submitted into Contest #20 in response to: Write a story about a day in the life of a mother.... view prompt



In school, they ask me what my biggest fear is, and I sit quietly, seriously considering this question.

My mind flashes to my future and what I expect of myself and how I want to live my life. I sift through the people that I have grown up around, and who I have to look up to as examples.

My mom comes to mind; Her tired eyes but warm smile.

I think of her life and routine, the slivers of it that I see.

She is already awake when I get up at 5:30 in the morning for school. I walk into the kitchen and she is standing by the stove, preparing eggs on Monday, biscuits on Tuesday, sausage on Wednesday, omelettes on Thursday, and pancakes on Friday.

When she notices me she smiles and kisses my forehead, handing me a laundry basket with all of my clothes neatly folded. "What do you want to drink this morning?" she asks, even though my answer is always water.

I leave to get dressed for the day and when I come back downstairs my breakfast is waiting for me at the table. My mom sits across from me, folding my little brothers' clothes, and asking me about my life. The kitchen table is one of the only times she really gets a minute to talk to me about stuff like school, or my job, or boys.

My dad gets up, grumbling about how he's gonna be late for work, and mom shoots out of her seat to hand him his carefully made coffee and breakfast. She kisses his cheek and tells him to have a good day at work. He leaves without so much as a "thank you."

My sister gets out of bed, crying and saying that she doesn't feel good. Mom picks her up and gives her a hug along with a kiss that instantly makes my sis feel better. They sit on the couch together--mom does sis' hair while listening to her talk about her latest dream. My mom looks happy.

Then my older brother stomps down the stairs, awake for not even four minutes, but already complaining that he's hungry and asking where his laundry is. Mom finishes sis' hair and sits her down at the table, setting a plate in front of her and brother's spot. "Eat fast," She says. "we need to take your siblings to school soon."

Brother sits down angrily, because he's always angry, and complains about the food not being hot enough. Mom offers to warm it up, looking guilty.

She sighs and then hands me a few papers. "These got sent home from school. I filled them out for you. Please make sure that you turn them in."

I take them wordlessly. Then I remember my anger at my dad for not saying thank you, so I tell her thanks, trying hard to make her understand that I do appreciate her. I don't think she ever does, and I can't figure out how to tell her. Actually saying the words seems to awkward.

Brother stands and leaves to go get dressed, and sis hops down from her seat and runs upstairs to play. I stand and begin loading up my backpack while mom grabs all of our dishes and takes them to the sink, beginning to scrub at them.

I try to remember to take my dishes to the sink for her, but I rarely ever do.

She hums to herself, but she does not seem happy.

My brother comes back downstairs and yells that he's getting in the car. Mom dries off her hands and quietly asks if I'm ready. I nod and go outside to get in the car as well. Brother is mad that she's taking so long. (It's been less than a minute.)

She walks outside and buckles my sister into her car seat, before getting in the drivers seat and taking off.

She tells us to have a good day and hands us both a lunch as we get out of the car. Brother slams the car door shut. I take the lunch and say thanks. She drives away, off to go about her day.

Mom has an exciting schedule of grocery shopping, cleaning, and taking care of sis.

When school ends, she is the first car in the line, waiting to pick me up. (She'll come back in about an hour to pick my brother up after practice.) She asks about my day, and I just shrug, telling her that it was good. She talks the rest of the way home, telling me about the plot of the book she reads in the car rider line while waiting for me to get out of school.

I don't really care about her book, but I like seeing her smile while talking about it.

Once we get home I go straight to my room to relax and watch tv. My room is noticeably cleaner than it was when I left for school this morning. The clothes that were on my floor are now in my laundry basket, my bed is made, and the poster that had fallen off my wall that I've been meaning to put back up myself is now mounted to the wall again.

I assume my mom cleaned it, which annoys me, and then I feel bad for getting annoyed. But I don't like the idea of her going through my stuff.

There's a knock on my door, and I say, "Come in."

Mom walks in with a plate of cut-up strawberries and grapes--my favorite. She sets them down next to me and asks what I want for dinner. I tell her that I don't care and begin to eat the fruit.

She nods and leaves my room.

When I finish my fruit, I go downstairs and find her at the island in the kitchen, prepping vegetables for dinner. I hand her my plate which she takes and puts in the dishwasher. I forget to do it myself again.

She asks me if I would mind watching sis while she goes to pick up my brother. I roll my eyes, but agree. I sit on the couch on my phone and my sister sits next to me, watching tv.

My brother is yelling at my mom when they get back, annoyed that she's cooking dinner instead of ordering take out like he wanted.

Mom just gives him ten dollars from her purse and tells him to order from wherever he wants.

She goes to the kitchen to finish preparing dinner for the rest of us.

The phone rings and she picks it up, smiling lightly. It must be dad. Her small smile falls, though, and she sighs. Dad must be eating out with his work buddies again. She tries to tell him that she loves him, but I can tell by the look on her face that he's already hung up on her.

I wonder, not for the first time, why they got married.

My brother eats in his room, and my sister claims that she is not hungry, and she goes off to her own room to play.

We sit at the table together. Mom looks exhausted. Her eyes find mine and she gives me a smile that doesn't actually meet her eyes.

"Thank you, for eating dinner with me tonight."

"Thank you for making it." I say, almost awkwardly. "I like your cooking."

Her eyes light up and her smile turns into a real one. "I'm glad that you do."

We eat, and then she does the dishes. She gets sis ready for bed, and tells me to not make too much noise because when dad gets home he's gonna be tired.

I bid her goodnight, and go upstairs.

They ask me what my biggest fear is, and I answer honestly.

"Becoming a mother."

December 17, 2019 13:51

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