“Thank you for taking the kids! I’ll be back in an hour.”
“Oh, it’s no problem!”
Iris smiled and thanked her friend again before heading down the driveway. She turned, making sure the door was shut and the blinds drawn before walking past her car, in the direction of the main road. She let her umbrella drop and turned her head toward the sky, letting the cold raindrops run down her face, through her hair.
She’d changed her last diaper, negotiated her last tantrum, wiped her last snotty nose, washed her last load of urine-soaked sheets, scrubbed her last oatmeal-encrusted bowl, spent her last sleepless night.
She’d imagined long sun-dappled days, the laughter of children in the air. Singing her babies to sleep and reading them stories that she’d written and illustrated. Not the stench of human waste, her clothes covered in all manner of bodily fluid, sticky hands always reaching for her, mouths screaming, demanding, needing, only her, never their father. Always Mommy.
It was her or them. She chose her.