Posted on September 6th, 2012
When I awake each morning, I feel as if I have just crawled through the pits of hell on my fingertips. My body feels like I’ve been beaten within an inch of my life. I am confused and vulnerable, like I have just Quantum Leaped into my bedroom and I need a moment to figure out what is going on. Monday through Friday, my alarm goes off at the same time every morning, yet every morning, my heart practically explodes and I think to myself: “What the hell is that crazy noise?” For the record, my alarm is set to play tranquil cathedral bells.
My morning issues have always been somewhat of a novelty for those who live with me. As a teenager, my family thought it was funny to play “wake the sleeping bear.” They would sneak in my room at ungodly hours to tickle the bottoms of my feet, pull the covers off of me, and laugh as they squirted cold water in my direction. This would typically result in me cursing a blue streak and throwing whatever happened to be on my bedside table, a paperback book, a box of Kleenex, a glass of water, right at the offenders head.
Husband does not suffer from any morning ailments, unless you count the fact that his wife is somewhat of a morning monster. He bounds out of bed with the enthusiasm of a drooling puppy. He used to try to amp me up, dancing around in his underwear and singing silly songs while I just looked at him darkly. Sadly, I have had to swat the puppy with a newspaper a few times. Now he understands that for me, waking up in the morning is liken to time traveling and the last thing I need is someone jumping on top of me when I am trying to figure out where the hell I am. We have now reached somewhat of a compromise on our morning routine: I wake up slowly. He looks on cautiously.
Regardless of where I am waking, or what I am up to any given day, this morning shock has been pretty much a constant throughout my life. The only exception to this I can recall was when my son was a baby. Liam would wake up singing, and before he could sing he would wake up cooing. I’d creep into his room in the early dawn and find him in his crib smiling wildly into thin air and just singing with the pure excitement of being alive. Those mornings were magic. I could sit there for hours hypnotized by his happiness; I knew exactly where I was meant to be.
Now Liam is approaching his fifth birthday. While he is still much more of a morning person than I will ever be, I can see my morning morose creeping into his nature. When I look down at my sleeping child, I am no longer greeted with the sight of a peaceful angel. Instead, I find him in a crumpled heap at the bottom of his bed, with his stuffed animals strewn all around him. He wakes up, much like me, with a dazed expression on his face, his hair pointing in a million directions, and trying to hit the snooze button by asking, “Momma, can I have just one more minute?”
We do our best to get out of the door on time, because adult life seems to require rushing and rush hour, and hurry up and wait. More often than not, our morning routine consist of coffee guzzling, lip pouting, pleading, threatening, and me doing what I swore I would never do as a parent: counting.
“Liam, I’m gonna count to three and you had better be getting your teeth brushed by the time I get to three.”
Ugh, I hate myself the moment these words come out.
Eventually, I get where I was going, the caffeine sets in, and the pout subsides into a granola bar encrusted grin. A moment of calm settles around us and I wonder what all the drama was for in the first place. In the morning light I watch my growing son as he walks ahead of me into school and I think about the things we lose, or at least misplace, as we grow. I close my eyes and see all the mornings that stretch out before my son, and wonder how I can keep him waking up and singing, just for a little while longer.