“Ode To Those First 15 Minutes After The Kids Are Finally Asleep” by Clint Smith
Praise the couch that welcomes you back into its embrace, as it does every night around this time.
Praise the loose cereal that crunches beneath your weight – the whole-grain golden dust that now shimmers on the backside of your pants.
Praise the cushion, the one in the middle that sinks like a lifeboat leaking air, and the ottoman covered in crayon stains that you now have accepted as aesthetic.
Praise your knees and the evening respite they receive from a day of choo-choo training along the carpet with two eager passengers in tow.
Praise the silence – oh, the silence – how it washes over you like a warm bedsheet.
Praise the walls for the way they stand there, and don’t ask for anything.
Praise the seduction of slumber that tiptoes across your eyelids, the way it tempts you to curl up right there and drift away even though it’s only 7:30 p.m.
Praise the phone you scroll through without even realizing that you’re scrolling.
Praise the video you scroll past of the man teaching his dog how to dance merengue.
Praise the way it makes you laugh the way someone laughs when they are so tired they don’t even know if they will stand up again.
Praise the toys scattered across the floor and the way you wonder if it might be OK to just leave them there for now, since you know tomorrow, they will end up there again.