My son wakes up at 5 a.m. like clockwork. Like sleep is for losers. It’s so regular that my husband and I are now on an alternating schedule of getting up with him. Before we made it official it was too easy to feel like you were the one who was always getting up and to resent it. Now it’s simply a matter of mentally preparing yourself for the fact that you’ll be staggering out of bed before the sun to grab a hungry 16 month old and tiptoe downstairs to start the coffee and start the day.
Yesterday, it was my day and as I stood in my dark kitchen with my early-bird baby in one hand and the yogurt drink he was sipping in the other, I started to think about what life will be like twenty years from now when both my little ones are all grown up.
I imagined myself standing in that same kitchen some late morning in my quiet house with my husband reminiscing about the past. And what I suddenly pictured myself saying was “Remember when Bo used to wake up at 5 a.m. like clockwork? It was hard sometimes but I wouldn’t give that time with him up for anything.”
Too often we’re too quick to label many normal parts of parenthood annoying or an inconvenience or work. I do it, too, and so I get it. We’re tired. Overwhelmed. Sometimes balancing all the responsibilities of motherhood and careers. We don’t have support. Our to-do lists are never ending. It’s hard to connect with mom friends because someone is always sick or working or just plain too tired. And honestly, our kids can be ungrateful and incomprehensible to us. There are plenty of times when being a mom feels like the hardest and least celebrated role ever.
And then on top of it, I need to wake up at FIVE?!
But here’s what I realized standing there yawning in the light cast by the clock on the coffee machine:
I can’t change the fact that my son likes to get up before dawn. What I can change is how I think about getting up with him. Do I tell myself that it’s such a pain in the butt to drag myself out of bed just to have to spend the next two hours alone with a sometimes crabby toddler? Or do I wake up, rub the sleep from my eyes, and thank God for another few hours alone with my baby who is less and less babyish with each passing day?
I know what I’m going to choose. I’m going to put on my rose-colored glasses NOW instead of twenty years from now when all I can do is wish I could go back in time for another few minutes with my little man.