I sleep through his coffee brewing, showering, head shaving , work dressing, and finally rouse to him leaning over me saying in a hushed voice, “This is your gentle wake up call, Wife…” Somehow, I sleep through all of that, but wake from a dead sleep to the boys’ door creaking open, or Cooper’s water bottle shifting along the wall upstairs as he rolls over in bed, or their bathroom light clicking on, one story away.
I see the light is on in the closet, hear the wind howling outside, the rain hitting the window, and the clock shining 5:40. “Yep,” I say … “Thank you …” He goes to turn off the closet light, but I ask him to keep it on, otherwise I was sure to fall back to sleep. Just for good measure I uncover myself from the duvet and the cold hits me, waking me up a couple more notches.
Last night, I’d told Matt that I really needed to start getting up with him at 5. “The boys are waking up earlier and earlier,” I’d said. “And I need that alone time before they start our day.” Just that morning, I had heard Kaden thump down the stairs like only a half-asleep 50-pound nugget can, bouncing off the walls, scuffing and thudding his feet, somehow not falling. He found me downstairs only 10 minutes into my workout video. With closed eyes he’d asked if I was almost done. “In a few minutes, Bud … go climb into my bed.”
Two minutes later, he returns to check again on my estimated finishing time … 3 minutes later to tell me he has to go to the bathroom. 2 minutes later to retrieve the cat that had just ran down the stairs. A minute later to ask if he could play the phone, but this time with his brother at his heals.
So this morning, Matt helps me wake earlier and even though it is just 20 minutes before I typically get up I assure myself it is a start. After giving Matt a long hug good-bye and watching him walk into the dark toward his work truck, I spend the next several minutes letting in one howling, high-strung-freaked-out-by-the-wind cat and one overly excited (but thankfully dry) dog, and then feeling the need to find the other much more chilled out cat. He’s sleeping on the front porch in my planter box and once his four paws hit the ground he’s crying for soft food.
By now, it is after my normal wake-up time so I quickly change and get to my work-out, hoping the boys will sleep a little longer. To increase the chances, I shut the cats downstairs with me and then quickly shut the high-strung one in the bathroom because I’d somehow missed the fact that he was sopping wet and had dirty patties. I did my pliés and leg lifts to the sound of him scratching at the door and his brother scratching at the other side, half wanting to play and half wanting to mock his sad brother into continuing his impossible task of digging his way out of the bathroom. But I call it a victory because I got through my stretches before any of my two legged boys woke.
I hurriedly drink a bunch of water … a ‘must’ before I allow myself to brew a cup of coffee. I quietly retrieve the creamer from the fridge and the bagels call my name. Breakfast and coffee will be enjoyed in bed, back under the covers, while I read my book. Such simple pleasures! As the toaster ticks away, I see Charlie lift his head from the floor and hear the familiar sound of bare-feet on the hardwood. Even with eyes closed, and one tiny light on, Kaden finds me but then veers toward the cat sleeping on the couch instead. In his ear I whisper that I’m going to read in bed for a bit if he wants to head in there and rest for a while longer. He agrees.
But as I cover the bagel with the last portion of cream cheese, I hear him in the dark school room. I peek in, squinting to see where he is and find him his cubby of workbooks and lessons.
“What are you doing, Love?” I ask, pretty much already knowing the answer and therefore feeling equal parts pride and disappointment.
“Getting my schoolwork. I want to get it done,” he replies.
I’m not going to protest. I’m not going to tell him, ‘No, this is my time’ or ‘No, you should still be sleeping’. It is 6:40 and by golly, my 7-year-old wants to do school. I stack my coffee and bagel atop my book while he stacks his pencil atop his workbooks and we retreat to the bed I’d left an hour ago. It’s still warm.
I only read about 5 pages between helping him count money for math and write words for phonics and sound out others in his Bible Reader.
“Is this fine, Mom, that we’re doing this right now when you wanted to be reading?” he asks.
“Totally, Bud. I love studying with you.” It is generally not fine with me when I tell the boys that I’m going to try to read for a bit and they interrupt me with random stories or burst into my room playing a fierce game of chase that ends in a huge tackle on my bed … yes, I want to always be accessible to them, but I do think it is super important for them to recognize the importance of downtime and my (our) need for white space and quiet time in our day. I tell them, it is a matter of respect.
But on this morning, there is no way I’m turning away Kaden’s desire to cuddle in bed and discuss quarters and the ‘au’ sound and Joseph forgiving his brothers who had sold him.
7:37 now, and Gage and Cooper come into the room with more energy and volume than Kaden and I and the sleeping cat on my bed are ready for. I try to welcome them into this day graciously, but while encouraging them not to be such a distraction when Kaden is practicing his reading. Quickly, (since brothers are now on the scene) Kaden finishes his lesson, they all bound out of my room.
I finish the chapter I’d started an hour before … in a book about seeking the slow life. I’m not sure why I pick up such books other than to rejoice with the author that they too have figured out that a slow, simple life is where it’s at. And as a reminder to thank God for setting our family out on this laid-back life path before our family had even begun.
I close my eyes because, despite the 30 minute-get-up-and-go workout I’d already done and the large-Keurig-sized cup of coffee I’d already drank, I’d tired again. Maybe it is the hum of the wind, or the simple fact that I’m back in my bed, or the knowledge that no time constraints are pressing on our day, but I wonder if I can sleep until 8. The sleeping cat on my bed has other ideas and tries to climb onto me repeatedly, refusing to understand what my gentle shove in the other direction means. Eventually he bites my thumb and my shove is a bit firmer. That, he understood. But with the cat’s paws having pressed on my belly several times, the baby growing inside me has woken and gives me a good solid kick (or punch or body stretch?) and my hand instinctively moves to my stomach. Another few kicks and I choose prayer over sleep.
I ask God to guide me through this day, to show me this day what He wants from me and to help me make the most of it. To make the most of this day, and to help me glorify Him in all that I do, speak, and think. To graciously accept the rainy day and the things that don’t go according to my plan (like little boys wanting to start school when the moon is still shining through the windows) and to wisely and lovingly help the boys through their school work, their relationships with each other, and their usage of the time in their day.
With a huge thump on the floor above me and a slam of a drawer in the kitchen and a call to me that “the bowl I just got from the cupboard is still dirty!” and one boy flinging into the room saying his brother won’t stop following him … and one more kick from the baby inside me, I open my eyes and decide, this is going to be a good day.
And it is now, 8:00am.
ETA: It was a good day … school, relationships, a friend over to play … there was even goodness in our goats getting out and eating on my totally toxic to them rhododendron bush. In its self, that was not good AT ALL, but there were lessons to be taught, guilt and responsibility to address, character to build and humility and forgiveness to practice. There is goodness in every situation we face.
I hope you have a wonderful Thursday! ♥