I love them. It must be a sign of old age. I’ve even started eating oatmeal. I’m not sure what happened, but getting up in the morning no longer has the attendant angst and drama it did before. I actually wake up before my alarm, only I refuse to get out of bed as a matter of principle. The buck stops here. Old or not I will not get up before 6:30. I think that’s part of the trick, I picked a time I knew I could consistently get up at without risk of relapse. 6:30 may not be hard core, but at least it’s reliable. And as soon as you have reliable then the next thing you know you have a habit. And, before long, you’re laying in bed thinking, “I’m awake, but I’m not getting out of bed until I have to.” That would be robbery. And on Saturday morning I’m eyeing the clock wondering if I can make it until 8:00. Sleeping in is not the same at that point, but I’m not quite ready to give up hope.
I was starting to wonder why mornings were ever hard for me to begin with. But then I realized they never were, I just never cared enough to make them important. However, with more kids, more responsibility, and less wiggle room, I can no longer cut my losses and move on. It’s do or die. There is no room for playing catch up. The only option I am left with is to go to bed and then get the heck up. And by go to bed I mean by 9:00. Did I mention I was getting old? Actually, I start getting ready to go to bed at 9:00. That means I quit whatever I am doing, floss, brush my teeth, wash my face, moisturize, start the oats for breakfast, and peek in at the children. I don’t actually make it into bed until 9:30. And then I read until 10:00. So that works out to be 8 and a half hours of sleep, interrupted by 5 bathroom breaks, a baby who invariably wakes up at 2:30, and the occasional wild card which may or may not involve puke. But come what may, I can still get out of bed in the morning. Because I am no longer tired. Go figure. 8.5 must be my magic number.
I don’t think getting up is that big of a deal. The real test of your mettle is whether or not you are willing to go to bed in the first place. Some people love staying up late. It’s the golden hour. The kids are all asleep. You can hang out with the honey and watch TV. You can both stare aimlessly at Facebook on your smartphones. Or, even better, scrub all the floors and strategically arrange the throw pillows while he wonders if you’re ever coming to bed. But you’re going to have to pay for it. You can either have mornings or nights. And I’m just going to have to go with the obvious on this one. Nighttime is for sleeping. Your body gets it’s best sleep and more ably handles it’s repairs before midnight. So go to bed. It’s dark out. Not to mention, I don’t think I’ve ever heard advice from older women telling me all I needed to do was stay up later. The consistent message I hear is that I need to be up and ready for my day before my children. Which turns out to actually only be painful if I never went to bed. I just thought someone should mention this.
Personally I like my mornings. I like having my clothes on before the rodeo begins. I like being able to greet my children with a smile as they pour up the stairs. I like sharing my “quiet time” with my boys as we read our Bibles together and they drink my tea. Mostly, I like the sense of peace there is before the sun is all the way up. And the chance to savor it. I don’t have to hit the ground running. I don’t have to throw food at people and wonder if we’re going to make it somewhere on time. Everything is still put away from the night before and this is our chance to enjoy the fruits of our labor, as well as each other.
To me, mornings are priceless.
They remind me of this quote from Peter Pan.
“Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children’s minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.”
For me, there is no going back. I wouldn’t trade any of my hard won peace and order for a chance to sleep in and tango with chaos. It’s not worth it. The years I spent fighting to get out of bed were kind of like flopping around in the mud. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t actually start. Getting up in the morning has become the equivalent of traction. All that’s left is picking up speed.