Early morning, and a thin, muted seam of light peeping between my curtains, tells me a new day is here. I lie in bed for a little while, savoring the silence and calm. A quick glance at my clock and I know I have about five minutes ... Five minutes of just me. Five minutes of peace. Five minutes of enjoying the birdsong. Five minutes before .... Mayhem.
The jaunty riff from my phone announces the official start to the race. In my head, I can hear a race track announcer utter the all important words, "Aaaaand they're off!".
Stumbling around in half-light, I find my gym clothes. Everyone knows that if you put on your gym clothes, you are more likely to actually go to the gym. At least that's what I've heard. Then again, maybe you just like to walk around in gym clothes so every thinks you've been. Maybe, gym clothes are the only clothes that fit at the moment ... But I digress, and on weekday mornings, there is absolutely no time for digressing!
First room to hit is the teenager's room. One does not enter the room. That would be unsafe. Who knows organisms lie in wait in that most comfy of all Petrie dishes that is a Teenager's room. No, I stand in the doorway, and using my most patient and gentle of voices, call my darling child from the Land of Nod. The comforter moves, and then stops. The gentle siren call is repeated, gently coaxing the youth from it's sleep. The comforter grumbles, lengthens and then gives way to head. I cannot move on to the next room until the head has popped out.
Next is the nine year old's room. Slightly safer than the Teenager's room, but as the light is dim, and my feet are bare, standing in the doorway seems to be the safer bet. My nine year old sleeps with our dog, who jumps up almost immediately when he hears me enter the room. I like to think it's my gentle mommy's voice that calls my darling into the land of the living, but in all likelihood, it's his noisy ear-flapping that does it.
We all stumble down the stairs. Thaddeus leading the way. The entourage of progeny sounding like a herd of stampeding rhinos, but now isn't the time to talk about possible structural damage to the house. It never ceases to amaze me that such little people can be so very heavy on their feet! Once the nine year old, running down the stairs, as is a nine year old's way, caused such vibration that the shadow boxes and pictures in the living room came off the wall. But, I digress, again. And as I mentioned before, the mornings aren't a time for digressions of any kind.
Breakfast is set before the half awake, zombie like off-spring and while they sleep-eat, my refereeing job begins in earnest. The cats don't know how to share and so someone is always whining about the other not letting them at the food bowl. The dogs, who are let out for their early morning ablutions, are now scratching at the door. They too want their breakfast. Yes, everyone gets to eat except mom.
"Are you done with your breakfast yet?" is met with sleepy mummbling. "Well, you have to get a move on, or we'll be late." More sleepy/semi-irritated mummbling.
Ten minutes later, no progress has been made with the breakfast consumption. "Guys, we are going to be late. Lets get a move on here."
Another ten minutes later, the kids straggle up the stairs while I tidy the kitchen, grab some breakfast on the go and check email.
"Mooooommmm, *Johnny's in the bathroom and I need to brush my teeth. He said my teeth don't need to be brushed today!"
"Johnny!" I call from the kitchen, wishing once more that I had an intercom system in my home, "hurry up in there or pass your sister her toothbrush."
"Mooooommmm! He said I'm ugly! And I have stinky breath!"
"Don't make me come up there!" I need my coffee. Definitely the Sumatra blend.
Doors slam. The pictures on the living room wall shudder slightly and I let the dogs in who have now pawed their way through the third layer of wood on the door.
"Mom!" I sigh. "*Kathy is hogging the mirror and brush! She's already brushed her hair - TWICE!"
"Is n ..."
"If you two don't stop this nonsense, you will both have to take a sick day today!"
"Really?" Johnny lives in eternal hope of having a day off school.
I sip my coffee as I hear my children engaging in "friendly" scuffles with each other. I choose to find my happy place. It's a beach, with lovely sea breezes and a sea that is crystal clear and sand that is pure white....
"Mom! Where are my socks?" Deep breath - happy place ..
"I'm leaving, Mom!" Kathy slams the front door on her way out, and I dash up after her to make sure she has remembered her lunch, her backpack and hasn't snuck out the house wearing her high heeled wedge shoes to school again.
Johnny runs down the stairs with his binder in one hand, shoes in the other and shouts, "I'm ready!"
Riiiiiiight! No time to argue though. We have to hit the road so we can be ahead of the school rush traffic. It's a murderous gauntlet that is unrelenting in is tedious pace and traffic gridlock. Moms in minivans are dangerous, especially first thing in the morning. Many of us actually leave the house without having our morning coffee! Then we face the obstacle that is the school parking lot. It is a test of endurance, sanity and civility that only a few of us master. I'm hoping, that I'll keep it together today.
High school drop off zones are even more fun. You have young drivers to contend with as well as "Minivan Moms", and some of these young drivers are still learning the finer techniques involved in steering with your knees while applying a full face of make-up!
It's a hasty good-bye and a frantic grab for backpack, binder, shoes, pencil and something else that's hanging from his mouth (are those his socks?) and he's out on the sidewalk and I am finally free to exit the madness of the week day morning .... until tomorrow.