I don’t need a calendar or the weather to know what time of year it is, experiencing mornings in our house tells me everything I need to know.
Summer is easy. These are the magical days of relaxed mornings, of sunlight streaming through windows waking us up, of very little rushing, and almost no yelling. It’s kids wearing the same clothes two days in a row, and instead of packed backpacks, it’s making sure towels and sand toys are always in the car, just in case.
Oh, summer. I love thee.
Fall is busier, but everyone is excited for be heading back to school. My six and eight year olds dig school the most, and they are still able to wake up to sunlight. They bound out of bed, they are happy with sandwiches, veggies, cheese sticks, and yogurt for lunch every single day, and the homework load is light. I’m excited to be heading back to my job as a literacy tutor, and fall sports help facilitate a good night’s sleep. There is still plenty of daylight for playing outside.
But after a bit, fall begins to look like winter. Winter is an older version of fall. It’s tired, and dark, and slow, and if winter mornings could talk, they’d complain about creaky joints and yell “Get off my lawn!” In winter, we all hate putting our feet on cold hardwood floors, and we look at the alarm clock with one bleary, contemptuous eye. There is more yelling, of course. For my kids to be on the bus by 7:45 am, they really need to be up by 7 am, which is difficult when the clock jumps from 7 am to 7:15 am in a second, as in “I’ll close my eyes just for a second.”
We do what we can to minimize the torture. Lunches are packed at night and backpacks are ready by the door. Hats and gloves are crammed in the sleeves of coats because by my best guess, we’ve spent 70 thousand hours looking for “the other glove” already this year. The heat kicks on 30 minutes before the alarm goes off, and I do my best to be ready for work before the kids get up. If I’m prepared for the day, which is code for getting at least one cup of coffee in my face before waking my children, I’m markedly less shouty. No one likes to be yelled awake, not even my easy going kids.
Just when we think the dark mornings will never end, we’re once again woken to sunshine. It’s weak, but optimistic, and we’re grateful for the light and the vitamin D. Spring brings “creative” lunches which usually includes most of the food groups, but are clearly cobbled together from a kitchen that has lost its focus; a kitchen that no longer has the drive to house proper traveling sustenance for young bodies. The primary emotion of spring mornings though, is hope. If winter is “Get off my lawn,” then spring is “You’re almost there!” The overwhelming who gives a shit attitude is only matched by the relief that it’s warm enough for shorts since all of the kids’ pants are now high waters, and the half-truth that a lunch of four types of crackers is fine every once in awhile.
I know summer is near when we’re all flopping over the finish line. The morning of the last day of school looks much like the first. The kids are running to the bus with a mouthful of breakfast, and my husband is brushing his teeth while feeding the dog. We high-five while the kids ride away, and we grab our stuff and leave the house in a state that would have would be intruders thinking someone beat them to the job. It’s okay, though. I’ll have time to put things in order over summer vacation.
Come see how your morning stacks up to mine by checking out my 7 Truths For Families Trying To Make It Out The Door In The Morning at The Huffington Post!