The alarm softly whispers country music at 5:00am. Steve nudges me with his foot, before rolling over and turning it off.
Way you go, Mama, he mumbles before falling back asleep.
I tip toe to the bathroom, pee. Scoop up my tights and shirt and beckon the dog. We shuffle downstairs. Strip off my jammies in the kitchen, pull on running tights and sport bra and other clothing items, all made of spandex and polyester. Zip. my jacket and close the door quietly behind me.
I’m no morning person, but this is necessary today. To combat the rising anxiety of exams and papers and cranky kids who need time at home with me. To regain my focus on a busy day where there will not be another moment except 5:15am.
And so I run, under a clear sky filled with starts and a bright half moon. I huff and shiver and the dog falls into step beside me. I drift, as I so often do, into a place of nothing. I watch the stars and I see my breath and I greet the scattered few other dog owners who are up this early.
By the time I’m on my way home, lights in homes are turning on, a few cars pass me on the road. I have watched this neighbourhood waken.
7k. It’s 6:00am.
I sit on the living room floor and the dog lays beside me. turns her head and licks my knee. A thank you kiss. These days are long and lonely for her, too, when she spends nine hours by herself.
Sometimes it feels like everyone is pulling. Everyone wants and asks and expects me to be free for their meetings, their exams, their bedtime stories, their parent-teacher, their date nights. And most of the time, I am. Most of the time, somehow, I get most of it done by 9:00 at night. I don’t get as overwhelmed as I used to, or maybe it’s just that now I know how to deal with it. Lots of exercise, lots of to-do lists, work efficiently.
As I sit in the dim living room, thinking about getting up and packing lunch boxes, I hear the movement start. shuffleshuffleshuffle and then the water flows through the pipes. I hear pat pat pat as a 5 year old wanders into my room looking for me. I hear the deep mumble of Steve’s voice.
I have watched this household wake up.
And so, with a to-do list that is four large post-it notes long slapped on my fridge, with lunches and breakfasts to be made and school bags to be packed, I climb upstairs and spoon behind my little girl.
There’s so much to do, and everyone will take and take and take. And yet, the true miracle I’m discovering is that the more they take, the more I give…. the more there is inside of me to share.