I wake up early every morning to enjoy the quiet of the house before the family rises. My dogs and I head downstairs — after I’ve taken my Synthroid with the requisite eight ounces of water. I open the backdoor releasing ‘the hounds’ to their ‘exterior toilet’ hoping to simultaneously breathe in cool, consciousness-inspiring morning air. Of late, the cool of the California mornings that I treasure are absent – fall hasn’t arrived despite what the calendar says. Wherefore art thou, El Niño?
I make a cup of tea and pretend that the synthetic thyroid hormone that regulates my endocrine system’s conductor has been absorbed so I can enjoy my tea immediately. The dogs, mug and I then return upstairs to share some ‘me time’ with my lap top where we review emails – which inevitably contain additions to the day’s ‘To Do’ list. And news about some horror or other than humanity has afflicted upon ourselves while my pack slept safely albeit erratically.
My husband stirs and goes in search of caffeine occasionally tripping over our son who is still young enough to be an early riser. Depending on our respective states of consciousness and courage, one of us notes the obvious, “It’s 6:15am, we have to start waking her up.” The parent who feels more optimistic, brave or foolhardy marches down the hallway – warped to long, desert-like proportions as the task at hand is contemplated – to raise The Tween. [in my mind, an organ plays dramatic cords here.]
Did you know that there is a wrong way to say ‘good morning’? If not, then your home is blissfully free of a hormonally-crazed-morning-challenged tween to whom the natural response to, “Good morning, cutie,” is, naturally, to scream, “Get out of my room. NOW!” No tween or teen is a morning person. Pity. But sometimes if the Gods of Circadian Rhythms smile, even my morning cry of “It’s alive! It’s alive!” is greeted with a grunt or maybe even a half-smile. The one time my husband resorted to ‘Wet Willy’ to get through to our sleeping daughter, well, the reaction shook the house.
We feed the kids and run through a multitude of mental check lists in the hope of sending our kids – and ourselves – into the world fully stocked for the day. We are a pigmentally-challenged lot so as the above occurs I chase the kids around the kitchen with one type or another of sunblock. This is the one constant in our morning routine; my insistence – on good days asserted with humor, on bad ones with volume – on everyone greeting the world slathered in sunscreen—which is coupled with my family’s daily reluctance to acquiesce and protect their skin from the sun’s evil ways. Cloudy or rainy days aren’t exempt – UV rays are sneaky – they attack through the clouds. Vigilance must be maintained – rain or shine. Sunblock is never optional, it’s only the level of my fervor that changes according to what the ‘Enviroflash’ the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sends me daily. No, I am not kidding take a look here and subscribe to see our tax dollars at work.
Once all are fed and deemed acceptable for public consumption, my husband or I herd the spawn, their supplies and ours into a vehicle and head off to school. Top 40 radio blares and, depending on the mood of the morning, sounds – off-key singing, pedestrian chatter or sometimes just the revolutions of the engine – are made.
The car— emptied of kids, their stuff and radio preferences— leaves me to contemplate the day to the sounds of the melodious, informative and sunscreen-championing ‘Morning Edition’