Waking up is hard to do, but well worth it

I have these friends who have been getting up before the crack of dawn to jog for many years. And for years I have laughed at them because they were, in one happy-go-lucky moment, combining my two least favorite activities. Waking up early and running.
“Just you wait,” said the oldest and wisest of the group, “wait until your kids are older and involved in a million activities and one day you’ll realize that waking up extra early is the only way to get anything done for yourself.”
Wouldn’t you know, that day has come and shown its ugly crack-of-dawn head and stared right into my half-open, sleepy-puffy eyes. And smiled.
I am not typically a morning person, and when I wake up I operate in complete zombie mode for the first good 20 minutes of my day. (I often have to recheck mid-morning to see if I did things, like feed the dog, pack juice pouches in lunches, eat breakfast.) Eventually the coffee kicks in, but during that window of time before it does I am not the friendliest person, stomping around, complaining, and have no idea what I’m actually doing. My family likes to remind me of my rise-and-shine personality whenever they get a chance which does nothing but make matters worse.
The clincher is when I am woken up by the faint sound of the whispered “mommy…mommy…she’s still sleeping…mommy” and I jolt up, mid-dream, and open my eyes to see little people standing at the side of my bed, knocking on my feet.
“We’re hungry.”
“I’m sleepy,” I growl, but get up and out of bed and if they’re lucky, I’ll not feed the dog Cheerios and the children Kibbles ‘N Bits. Once fed and dressed, the rest of my day belongs to them, where each and every moment (especially when school is out) is theirs until the seas part, the golden harp plays, angelic singing plays softly in the background and it is finally bedtime. Unfortunately by the time that rolls around I’m way more exhausted then my kids are and I tend to fall asleep before they do.
In an attempt to gain just a few minutes of “me time,” I recently tried my hands at getting up early, even if it meant waking up while the streetlights were still shining away. But if the rest of the family was still snoring away, I could be grumpy and sleepy all by myself, which is really all that anyone really wants. Not only that, but I found that after a few days of this new routine, I actually got to consume an entire cup of coffee without reheating it, which is something I swear I haven’t done since 2001.
My new plan was working out quite well. By sacrificing just an hour of sleep, I was able to watch television that was not animated, check my email without someone randomly pushing keys, and even, I dare say, a smidge of exercise. (Although not jogging; I will forever stand by my dislike of running to get nowhere while making myself hurt.)
This wild taste of freedom before the sun rises has turned me around as a person so much that I do believe I’ve become an early morning addict. Every night when I set my alarm clock, I think to myself, “just how little sleep do I really need? How early can I sneak out of bed tomorrow?” and lo and behold, I am turning into not only a zombie for the first 20 minutes, but I’ve pretty much reached vampire status.
Watch for me, roaming the streets with a giant grin in the middle of the night, desperate for a little peace and quiet all to myself. At the rate I’m going, I figure I’ll be sprouting fangs and wings any day now.


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