I am not a morning person. At all. I grew up with my mum creating masterpieces at the sewing machine at 3am and my dad insisting that sunrise was the best part of the day, but this did not rub off on me in any way. Don’t talk to me before 7am (it used to be 8am but then I had kids). Even after I’ve roused myself out of bed, I’m a zombie until someone has inserted breakfast into my slavering mouth. So you can imagine how I felt when a coughing fit woke me up at 5am and then later again at 6am. I considered trying to burrow back under the covers but I love my husband and I knew he had to work that day, so I did the right thing and got out of bed just after 6am.
As I staggered down the hallway in the dark, I became vaguely aware of a shadowy figure standing by the kitchen bench. I felt the first stirrings of alarm until I realised it was not a burglar or a ghost. It was, in fact, my four year old son.
“Mummy?” Orion said as I got closer. I ruffled his hair and bent down for a hug. After some murmuring and snuggling, I got the idea that he’d woken up early too (probably due to my coughing although this was never mentioned) and had come out looking for his game boy. Normally I’d send him back to bed but considering I wasn’t going back to my own bed, it seemed hypocritical.
So I set him up on the couch with a blanket and his game boy and went to make a cup of tea. As the water boiled, I glanced down at the baby monitor on the bench (I’d bought it out of the bedroom without really knowing) and noticed that Piper’s eyes are wide open and she’s rolling about in her cot having a grand old time. I look at the clock and sigh. It’s not even 6.30 yet, and both my kids usually sleep until 7am. Then again, so do I. The kettle is boiled and I follow through with my tea making ritual, watching the monitor to make sure she’s not going to drift back off to sleep. She’s standing up now, so I don’t think so. I set the cup of tea on the bench to cool a bit (why do I always make them too hot?) and go to pull her out of bed.
A few minutes later and all three of us are sitting on the couch. I’ve allowed myself the rare luxury of slouching back into the cushions so that Piper can crawl on my torso without falling over. Moments later, Orion wriggles closer and puts his head on my shoulder, all without looking up from his game boy. Piper puts her head on my chest and there is only the sound of our breathing in the early morning. I’ve spent the entire time since I woke battling a deep seated frustration and now, with my children curled into me and a moment’s reflection, it begins to seep away. Normally this feeling wouldn’t abate until I am properly showered and breakfasted but I learnt long ago not to underestimate the cathartic powers of my kids.
I’m not a morning person. I hate getting up, especially against my will. But the fact remains that if I hadn’t been forced out of bed, to stumble sleep deprived and grumpy down the hall, I wouldn’t be sitting on the couch with Orion and Piper, soaking up a rare and precious peaceful moment. Perhaps, upon reflection, mornings aren’t so bad after all. Just don’t ask me to do it again tomorrow.