Most days, Claire and I are up by 4:30 in the morning. She’s never been a great “sleeper”, and since her life began, this is the hour that she wakes for the day. Every morning it’s the same routine- we head downstairs, I grab coffee, and pour her some milk. She waits on the couch until I’m seated in the big chair, then she joins me. Together we snuggle, sipping our respective drinks, breathing deeply, and listening to whatever there is to hear.
If it’s raining, we can tell by the water running down the gutter outside. If it’s warm out, we hear the crickets singing, an occasional quack from a duck, or sometimes the squawk of the Great Blue Heron who always fishes for breakfast by our neighbor’s dock. In the winter, if it’s windy, the wind howls around the house as it blows up the hill. Sometimes, there’s only silence- just the rumble from the furnace below us, or maybe from one of our bellies.
What ever my day brings, this is how it begins. Before Claire, I always considered myself a night owl, one of those people who was pretty productive after dinner through the late show. The mere thought of getting up before the sun made my head spin, and now- here I am. Not only do I get to see the sun rise, but I’m watching the moon set.
I have mixed feelings about it. My relationship with my husband suffers a bit- by the time we get home, it’s dinner, tub, then bed for Claire. Hustle to get the chores done and ready for the next day, and I’m pretty much “done” myself, so we don’t get any quality time to hang out at the end of the day. My feeling, though, is that’s the scenario in a lot of homes where there’s little ones, so I try not to stress about it. Just make sure we do something together on the weekends, at least.
Every morning, though, as I sit and breath in her curls, I remind myself this won’t last forever. There’s going to come a day when she opts to sit by herself, or worse yet- she may not get up until 6, or even 7! What will I do then? I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I will embrace the opportunity to greet each day as the clean slate it is. I have a new appreciation for these quiet hours, and I thank my daughter for introducing me to the early birds.