It amazes me how so much stays the same day after day. How each morning begins with a rising ripple sound from my iPhone. How I press “snooze” for a precious 10 more minutes and how the dogs begin to stir and grow impatient. It’s hard to pop out of bed, so I don’t. I lumber across the floor, get my soft jacket, brush my teeth, look down the hall to make sure my son’s light's on beneath his door. My husband is a sleeping bear; he gets 30 more minutes and I close the door softly.     Make the coffee, fluff the sofa pillows left flat from the night before, feed the dogs, water them, let them out, start the lunches.     Why do my boys want peanut butter and jelly every darn day? I would happily ... well, maybe not happily, but ... make turkey and cheese or tuna fish or some kind of yummy wrap, but they want peanut butter! My pediatrician says it’s OK — peanut butter is one of the best things they can eat, she says. All that protein. So in it goes, along with a banana, some chips, a yogurt and a couple of cookies. I scrawl their names on the front of each bag like my mom used to do for my sibs and me. I loved that touch. I can still see her handwriting on my bag. I can still hear the thud of the apple in the bag hitting the bottom of the trash can — when I didn’t eat the apple.

In My Kitchen

    Here I am, leaning against the counter, sipping my coffee. My boys eat at the table. I try not to say too much because they’re tired and just getting going. They have both showered and their hair's brushed back. They're quiet and contemplative.     “Go brush your teeth, Thomas,” the bigger one warns. “We’ve got to go.” Thomas knows if he doesn’t get a move on his brother will pull out of the driveway without him.     The dogs are clamoring at the back door to come in. I’ll have to wipe their wet paws off first. I am grateful for something as small as a dry morning so I don’t have to deal with muddy paws. My husband comes down the stairs showered and dressed.     As you’re going through your days with your kids, your home, your spring, your life ... remember, this is your time. It doesn’t have to be filled with more than it is. You can live your life simply, hunkering down and participating in the one important area of your life where you’re needed: Mom. Sane, steady, loving, good. With all that’s going on out there, don’t give up the best part of you that your kids need: the peaceful, relatively happy mother in the kitchen who is there as needed. The tell-me-what-you’re-thinking-I’m-here-to-see-you-through mother.     In other words, let’s not lose our heads when the most important job we have in the world is to keep it on straight and collected.     As you go through your days, take it easy, and remember it’s the little things that add up to the whole.