Many years ago, I had visions. Not the psychic kind, but visions of the hazy, idyllic joy my mornings would be filled with when I became a mother.
I’d picture the bedroom window open, early sunshine seeping in, warming the covers and shining in the wispy, free hairs that would frame my daughter’s angelic face. My son would bounce onto the bed with a race car or two, and we’d hear songbirds chirping as they welcomed a new day.
My husband and I would smile at each other, thankful, ever so sweet, as we listened to the carefree laughter of our little blessings.
These days, two kids into our marriage (some people measure their marriages by years, but it’s just as accurate to measure by number of children, as each child brings you to a new phase), my visions have — changed. These days, my visions are more like floating black spots dancing behind sleep-encrusted eyelids. These days, my visions are wrought with the terror that comes from being jolted awake by my door slamming open into the wall, and one or both of the children bursting in with news such as this:
“What happens if you keep eating while you’re throwing up?”
I find I’m not as confused as one would think, as once you become a mother, you gain the ability to go zero-to-fully-awake in point-three seconds.
But it remains frustrating to carry on these conversations about bodily functions and illnesses and for some reason death (what is the fascination?) as I’m trying to brush my teeth, serve breakfast and get the kids out the door. I would much rather start the day with a series of pleasantries such as this:
“Good morning, Son,” (in this vision, I am the first one awake, where in reality, I’d have to be up at 4am to accomplish that feat). “I was thinking of making blueberry pancakes this morning. How does that sound?”
Here my son would stretch, smile and leap out of bed to give me a hug.
“Oh, Mother! That sounds better than dinosaurs!”
I would walk away, primed with a morning plan, and two smiling children trailing me to their spots at the kitchen table. I would feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to start the day.
Instead, I wake up most days to a door slamming open and find myself saying things like this:
“Please don’t cough in my face.”
“Why is the water running?”
“Yes, I wiped all the poop.”
“Stop stepping on your sister.”
“I can’t put your shirt on when you’re running in circles.”
“No, I don’t know where your Band-Aid went.”
“Please put your shoes on.”
“We’re all out of small spoons.”
“What did I just step on?”
“Yes, we found your favorite barrette, but then you lost it again, remember?”
“No, today is not your birthday.”
“Please put your shoes on.”
“Your birthday is still a long way away.”
“Is that new underwear?”
“Please don’t joke about being dead.”
“Did you find the missing library book?”
“Please don’t walk with a bucket on your foot.”
“Why is the floor wet?”
“Now would you please put your shoes on?”
Despite this crack-of-dawn craziness, despite its light-years distance from my pre-children visions, mornings in my house are hectic, harried, often shoe-less, but they can be a lot of fun.
My daughter held up a seed from a piece of rye bread the other day and asked, “If we plant this, will a bread tree grow?” Then in the car my son chimed in with my complaining about the traffic, and instead of saying traffic jam, he said, “We’re in a traffic jail!” Same difference? And shoving a doll dress into my hands, my daughter asked me to put it on her favorite toy because, “Little Bear is going to scare the vikings after he gets on his dress!” Then one day she looked out the window, became thoughtful and said, “I do love my brother more than squirrels.”
So, no slow, hazy mornings with wispy wind-blown curtains in our house. More often than not the curtains get caught in the door as we rush off to school drop-offs and pick-ups, parties and play dates. In the end, in some ways it’s nice not to need an alarm clock. It just might be a little nicer if the kids toned down, just a tad, on the panic.
The other day, rushing into my room before sunrise, my son cried out at me.
“Mommy, does horrible mean a disaster?”
I blinked away the sleep fog.
“Does hooorrrible mean a disaaaaster?”
“Um, sure. Yes. Wait — where are you going?”