I can almost see him now, the curly-haired cowboy riding his horse through the Oklahoma corn field, Technicolor blue skies framing his handsome face.
“Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day.”
What would it be like to have a morning like that? Such joy, peace and serenity. But I have children.
Don’t get me wrong. Nothing brings me more joy than my children. But peace and serenity? Not so much.
I like to think there are families out there who have peaceful mornings, but we are not one of them. I’ll admit I’m a big part of the problem.
I’ve always loved nighttime. We used to beg our parents to let us stay up late and watch Johnny Carson. Now I’ve grown up, Johnny Carson sadly is gone, but I’ve found so many other things to waste my nighttime hours.
I’ve stayed up late watching TiVo recordings of “The Daily Show” and “Downton Abbey.” That’s not so bad. But I’ve also been sucked into mindless stuff, like that infomercial for the ear wax vacuum, featuring that man (OW!) who keeps stabbing his eardrum with a Q-Tip. Maybe this poor man needs more help than an ear wax vacuum.
The point is I stay up too late, which means I’m late getting ready in the morning, which in turn means I’m late getting my kids out the door.
But it’s not all my fault. My daughters are morning challenged, too. They’ve been night owls almost from the day we brought them home from the hospital. It must be genetic. I remember when my kids were toddlers, hearing from friends who had their kids in bed by 7:30. We tried to do that, but they just wouldn’t fall asleep. They’d just stand there in their toddler beds, like Jimmy Kimmel ready to deliver the night’s monologue.
We’ve made honest efforts to get to bed earlier to make the mornings go more smoothly. We’ve written up and followed bedtime charts, set the alarm clock a half-hour earlier and insisted clothes get laid out the night before. But before long, we go back to our old ways and our beloved snooze button.
Fortunately, we have help in our household. My husband is naturally a night owl too, but true to his Scandinavian nature, he will not let his body’s desire to sleep in win out over his duty to be a responsible grownup. (Don’t we love Scandinavian responsibility?) He really should have been in the Army or a Boy Scout at the very least. He is always prepared, always on time, and he doesn’t even stab himself when he uses Q-Tips.
He often rises by 5 a.m., gets on the treadmill, walks the dog and balances the checkbook. Seriously. I’m married to this person, and I am deeply grateful.
I just wish the girls had taken after him a little more than after me. We are a household where one person has his act together and the other three are frazzled just trying to leave the house not wearing slippers. We waste time trying to get the dog to stop chewing snow boots, getting last-minute homework done and combing maple syrup out of ponytails. (Maybe there’s an infomercial product for that).
We do make it out the door eventually, wearing teeth-marked snow boots, with signed homework in hand and armed with an explanation that that smell in our hair is really just fancy maple shampoo.
Sometimes we’re late; sometimes we’re not. I just know that after I drop the kids off at school, I still face a full day of work at the office, but the hardest work of the day is behind me. (The boss seldom gets maple syrup in his hair, and if he does it’s not my problem to solve.) The rest of the day often seems pretty tranquil. Now that’s a beautiful feeling. Almost makes me want to get on my horse and start singing.
Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is an employee of Forum Communications Co.