The alarm goes off. I roll over to press the snooze button, and nearly smash the three-year old who has taken up residence next to me sometime in the middle of the night. I grope for the alarm clock, press the button, and snuggle back into my down comforter.
Nine minutes later, the beeping starts again. I sit up this time, careful not to disturb Sophia, and press that magical snooze button once more.
Another nine minutes passes, and this time my husband groggily asks, "What time is it?"
I carefully reach over Sophia to feel around for the alarm clock and wonder why I am the one who has to sleep next to it. I am the blind one who can't see the time anyway. I am the mother, the one that Sophia wants to cuddle with every time she wakes up to use the bathroom. That is what mommies are for. Daddy is for playing, but there is no playing at two a.m. She comes to my side of the bed in the middle of the night.
I finally manage to grab the clock without waking Sophia and bring it up to my face to read the time.
"It's 7:04." I tell my sleepy husband. Outside the window there is no hint of a sunrise. It could just as well be one in the morning as seven.
Neither of us wants to get out of the warm bed in the blackness and we especially don't want to face the freezing cold that awaits. We try to take turns getting the girls up and ready and off to school on the bus. I did it yesterday and today is his turn.
"If you do it today, I promise to get up with them for the rest of the week," he bargains. Not an unusual request, especially since he burned the midnight oil grading papers the night before. It's also a request I can't refuse.
I let out a sigh. Then I carefully crawl out of my cozy cocoon to face the day. I find my glasses, step into my slippers, grab a sweater, turn on a light and trudge up the stairs to wake the girls.
It takes me a few minutes to encourage them to come out of their own blankets and get dressed. But they do it, gradually waking up and remembering things they need to tell me about. Excited for another day of school. Upcoming field trips, Halloween parties, friends and schoolwork. I brush their hair as they chatter at me, tiredly answering their questions and exclamations.
Once beds are made, we go downstairs where they eat their breakfast and I make their lunches. Then I must find the backpacks, making sure I have signed all important papers and homework planners. The girls hurry upstairs to brush their teeth and I pull on my jeans and a sweatshirt, socks and tennis-shoes, scarf and hat, coat and gloves.
They rush down to bundle themselves in their own jackets and mittens, and we head out the door into the black morning. We arrive at the bus stop, converse with friends until the bus arrives, and off they go to school.
I turn to head home, and just as I arrive at my front door, I hear the University bells chiming 8:00. It is still cold and dark. Joel is now up and around, but I go back into bed and cuddle with my youngest daughter until she finally wakes up wanting breakfast.
I love mornings.