I am suddenly awakened from deepest sleep by someone yanking on my arm.
“Appoo! Appoo! Come Mama!”
As my sleepy haze begins to dissipate, Jack’s fuzzy little head comes into focus. It is still dark outside, and as I glance at Aaron’s body peacefully rising and falling, bitterness at his ability to sleep through anything begins to bubble up inside me. Along with this bitterness is a pompous mental noting of my status as the “good parent”, the one who dutifully and without complaint gets up each morning, no matter how profound my exhaustion, to feed our children. I head for the kitchen in a cantankerous mood. Each quiet snuffle emerging from the bedroom makes me clench my jaws tighter.
“At least I,” I grumble to myself, “care about whether or not our children go hungry!”
Moments later Zeke is up. I hear his bare feet slap-slapping on the hardwood floor as I slice Jack’s apple in the yellow light of our kitchen. I bring Jack’s apple slices into the living room and find Zeke lost in thought at the table. He is illuminated only by the half-light of the street-lamps, elbows on the table, head resting in his hands, like a troubled soul in a Hopper painting. When I wish him a good morning, he flashes a cherubic smile in my direction and informs me of his urgent need for raisin toast with peanut-butter on it, and also “Milk in a cup with a top and a lot of milk too.”
I head back to the kitchen to make Zeke’s toast. Jack, as soon he sees what his brother is getting, insists on toast of his own. When I place Jack’s toast next to his apple, he commands, “Bow! Bow!” The toast apparently must be served in its own separate bowl to please my not-quite-two-year-old son. Soon the morning quiets. There is just the sound of my two munching sons and the harmonica hum of our tea kettle, to which the three of us all sing “Hot tea-eeeeeeeeeee” and giggle as is our private little custom.
The boys were being so sweet with each other– telling each other incomprehensible jokes and laughing. As they finished their food, I watched them push trucks back and forth and babble happily on the kitchen floor, and I just basked in the warmth of our cozy, contented family. As I became more and more alert, it struck me what a perfect morning we were in the middle of, the sort of easy, tranquil morning that invariably signals a smooth and peaceful day. A day where the two little beings that Aaron and I created coexist harmoniously and prove that we were right in pursuing this crazy familial experiment.
How could I mind missing out on a little sleep, I wondered, when I am so blessed?
And THAT was when I caught sight of the time glaring at me from the microwave: