I don't know about you but, every morning, I rise just before the sun and savor a few quiet moments of deep, cleansing, breaths while my loving husband makes coffee and brings it to me so that I can sip it calmly as I contemplate the enormity of the universe and enjoy the fact that I am one with all of the natural and the human world.
And then, I wake up...
Of course, nothing about that vision is true, except the part about my husband bringing me coffee. And he is loving. He knows I'm going to suck down that java as fast as I can, because I'm gonna need more than a single cup to face the chaos of the weekday morning. But he leaves well before the girls are supposed to be up, when all is still well.
Usually, before I can catch up on the news of the day, a bed-headed little girl strolls into the living room and demands that I put a kids' show on the TV. And sit with her, but also get breakfast, but also find out what the school lunch is, but also... So begins the day. If you have children, and were not rocketed to Earth as a baby as your home planet exploded, giving you superpowers among us humans, you may have some idea of what I am talking about.
When my sons were young, many moons ago, it didn't seem like it was such an ordeal to get them moving and out of the house in the morning. I always had to go to school, or to work, so I had a similar amount of pressure to start the day running, but I didn't have to braid their hair or argue with them about why they couldn't wear a skirt that short without leggings under it... And the boys didn't sneak my lip gloss, then drop the applicator on the carpet, then put it back in the tube, so that I could discover, on my way to work, that I was rubbing disgusting beige fuzz onto my lips. Not even once. It was so much easier then.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I tend to remember things through a rosy haze of nostalgia and the boys (now men) have often pointed out that there were plenty of rough times with them. They say potayto, I say potahto... whatever. If I want to remember their childhood as a golden time, let's just say that they're not going to stop me.
On the days we have early activities, or have to run to the store to get food for lunch because our cupboard is empty and they are serving something that both girls declare "heinous"at the cafeteria, I have to practically drag the girls from their beds over strong protests. "I'm sooooo tiiiired!" "Make her get up first." "No. No. No. Nooooooo!"
But, usually, I don't have to wake the girls, because before I know what has happened, they have already insinuated their noisy selves into my quiet morning. They often do this as a kind of maleveolent dynamic duo, by arguing over who grabbed a certain dress first, therefore securing the right to wear it, or over who should go and brush her teeth because her breath is disgusting.
"She said I was disguuussssTING! She should be in trouble, and I got out the purple dress first and I put it down to get some socks and she grabbed it so make her GIVE IT TO MEEEEE!"
"Well, she came in when I was in the bathroom, so she deserves it and she didn't have the dress first, she got it out when I TOLD her I was wearing it, just to be MEEEEAANNNN!"
All I can do is grab the dress at issue, hold it above my head, bellowing that NO ONE can wear it, and tell them to get out some clothes and put them on before I e-mail their teachers to say that they won't be at school because their behavior is just too awful for me to unleash them on the public. The quiet after such a proclamation lasts about 30 seconds.
In either case, when we have just under a half an hour before we need to be out the door, some strange inertia grips each of the girls, and they both stop wherever they are, be it Fiona, in front of an Arthur episode she has seen 46 times, or in Delia, in her room, suddenly seized by the desire to slowly sort and catalogue every single barrette and hair tie she owns, or both of them at the breakfast table, slowly dissecting their toaster pasties so as to avoid eating the "crust." (Just for the record, PopTarts do not have crust. I stand by this fact.)
Then, my real work begins: it is time to push and prod and threaten and mush the girls like sled dogs into readiness to get out the door. All while I am making lunches and trying to get myself ready to leave. I constantly review the status. Clothes, check. Breakfast, check. Hair, check. "Teeth, Delia-- brush 'em. Fiona, for the tenth time, just get your socks on and I'll tie your shoes in a minute." Then two minutes later, with my own teeth brushed and shoes on: "Delia-- teeth! Fiona-- socks!" By the time we leave, I have begged, wheedled, cajoled and threatened the severe loss of all kinds of privileges. And it works. We do leave. We go out into the world and have our days at school and work so that we can come home and have dinner and go to bed so we can get up and do this all over again.
Sunrise picture from here.