I am not quite sure what time morning officially started, but breakfast time at six years old meant sitting on the kitchen floor in front of the heating vent. "I'm cold" I would whine to my mother who would then allow me to dress right in that very spot with the warm air blowing, keeping me warm. Then I would start in on a bowl of Grapenuts served up in a Milwaukee Brewer's souvenir baseball cup. The uber healthy cereal would quickly be covered with a thick layer of pure sugar, which would eventually sink to the bottom making sweet milk which I would slurp down at the end of the meal. Saturday mornings meant the smurfs and the muppet babies, and an occasional McDonald's run-nothing like processed pork product and orange drink mmmmm....
8th Grade. I woke up in my own room for the first time in my life. We moved into my step-father's home when my parents remarried and my sister and I were both allowed to design our own bedrooms. Mine was rose pink carpet and a matching white furniture set. Yet those mornings were difficult ones. It was a year plagued with migraine headaches and insomnia. I would pull myself out of bed, exhausted and unhappy. I would fuss over what to wear, realizing that no matter what I put on I would never look cool. I would head to my new school feeling unpopular and alone. That was a crappy year.
The high school years. I would awake to the sound of my alarm, and rush to be the first in our family's only shower. I would then spend a ridiculous amount of time in my room "doing" my hair. This meant a curling iron and way to much hairspray. Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits was the soundtrack to the morning ritual. I would head off to school, backpack slung over one shoulder and walk a 1/2 mile to school, sometimes in the freezing cold-always without a hat (I wouldn't want to mess up that fabulous hair I slaved over). Each school day started with a little flutter of anticipation, maybe today he would talk to me, would I ace the Spanish test?, did I get into the school play? It was a time of angst and possibility.
College. On the best mornings I woke up next to my boyfriend (now my beloved husband!). Those were great days, there was nothing more encouraging then waking up to the guy you loved, even if he did wreak of stale beer and weed. Other days I would get up in time to hit the gym or the lake shore path for a run before class. The rest of my morning would be spent in lecture or at the library drinking coffee and munching a one pound bag of Chiclets. I loved studying. It was quite and productive. I felt very alive.
A newly wed living in uptown Minneapolis. I would awaken every morning with two kitties snuggled in bed with me. I would usually rise before the sun did and get an early start on my work day. I would get dressed in a very conservative work-appropriate outfit, taking inspiration from my mother-in-law's Talbot's wardrobe (what was I thinking?), I would stop and grab a coffee from Brueggers and arrive at my desk by 7:30am. I had my own office. I must be a grown-up.
Now in Denver I would often get up by 5:45 in time for a morning jog through our highlands neighborhood. I would hit the pavement just as all the sprinkler systems were kicking in, and I would run past the little brick bungalows admiring the landscaping and getting ideas for my own yard in our very first home. My husband and I would catch the bus downtown, and walk along the 16th street mall to the Tabor Center where we both worked. I wore Ally McBeal inspired suits and felt like a hip young business woman. I had a fancy office with beautiful furniture, and enough money to buy a latte each and every day.
I haven't had the need for an alarm clock in four years. I am awoken at 5:15 by the sounds of a raucous stuffed animal party. So much noise. Why are preschoolers so very loud? I cover my head with a pillow attempting to drown out the noise, to no avail. By 6:00 the party is joined by a crib sing-along "mommy! daddy! mommy! daddy!" over, and over, and over again. I procrastinate. I lie there a little longer until it escalates. Time to get up. Time to get everyone dressed. "I'm hungry" demands Zachary. "Please" Evan persists. Now we go downstairs where I play short-order cook. "More milk!" "I don't like this french toast" "Can I have waffles instead?" "I spilled". "Please" "Please" "I ruined my shirt!", "Bark! Bark!" (that's dog for feed me too damn it!) Now it's 8am and I still haven't had my first cup of coffee. I hurry for a 45 second shower... and then rush Zack to preschool. Now I breath. The day will start. I'll go to Gymboree, or the marina, or for a jog, the possiblities are endless. It's going to be a beautiful day.