I hear tense little feet shifting, waiting for the coming bell like greyhounds poised, ready to break free of his morning cage. The alarm rings a minute early, changing that clock is hell and I don’t want to change a thing, true hell is watching them age.
He’s always the first one in, awake before the alarm sounds, he waits because he thinks I’m asleep, but I lie in anticipation. Warm curls, puppy breath and floppy arms fly into bed with a bound. A moment with wriggles, giggles and elbowy gyration.
The moment passes, he’s nestled, coppery curls tickling my nose while dreams pass from his tiny pink mouth into my deceitful ear that tunes out his words but tunes in to his breath, his heart, his body as it grows right under me. Who knows how many ramblings I have left every year.
Soon a grumble comes in from the doorway, one that doesn’t like mornings. Curls tumble down her eyes and into my bed, hiding from the light. I pull her up, now one on each side of me. The alarm’s second warnings go unnoticed. Ironically I hit snooze as tickle fights start on my right.
Little giggles, dreams good and bad, and toots are what rouses me every day I know they won’t last, but for now they are the best way to wake. I am their hero, their bad dream banisher, monsters I can slay because of that their day starts off with love, something to school they can take.
These mornings are special, no matter how annoyed I may get. My children know this, because instead of running downstairs or getting dressed they wait, for the bell, for me to pull them in, for me to kiss their neck. I’ll always remember these small hands, crystal laughs, and warm curls, a little messed.
A few weeks ago my wife asked me to help her with something. She wanted to capture the feeling of the mornings she had with the kids. In the morning she will get up with our eldest daughter, see her off to school and then crawl back into bed to wait for the other two. About ten minutes later their alarm will go off and my son, who is always awake before the alarm, turns it off and sprints into our bedroom where my wife lies in wait. He always has a dream to share, questions to ask, and is always cuddly and warm.
I’ve never been a morning cuddler, I don’t know why. I like mornings, I’m not grumpy, I usually get up and start moving, sometimes I’ll lay in bed and read but snuggling in the morning has never been my thing. Most mornings I miss all of this circus because I leave for work before everyone else is up. So when my wife asked me to capture this moment, I wanted to give it a go. To see the mornings through her eyes. I presented the poem to her on Valentine’s Day and she said I did a great job, but I learned a few things about that: One, she’s a terrible liar. Nothing will ever capture that feeling. Two, it made me realize I want to be more of a cuddler. Three, it made me realize how much I miss in the mornings, how much I miss in general. I made me realize I need to change and I hope it’s not too late.
Sometimes, seizing the day means staying the bed, and holding onto your children a little longer. Thank you, Jayme, for sharing this gift with me.
Previously Published on Stupid Optimism