Waking kids up in the morning is a pain in the you-know-what.
When I had my baby girls, I NEVER woke them up when they were sleeping. Three-hour naps twice a day? Fine. Go for it. Sleep all you want. All parents’ instinct is this. Why? Because all parents learn very quickly that a baby, toddler, kid of any age, who is overtired….is like dealing with an insane person. Little bodies go limp and start flailing on the ground, tears stream down worn out faces, nerves fry at all ends, and they fall down. Literally.
Since school has been out, and in this first summer since either of my kids were born that don’t have to wake them up for Cross Country practice early in the morning all summer long….I have been LOVING the morning at my house. Instead of packing breakfast to-go I am watering my plants and enjoying my cup of coffee. There is a big, quiet, gap that not coaching Cross Country has left in my summer mornings.
My oldest daughter, Brianne, though in total love with “the runners” was the first to raise her hand at the family meeting when repeating the grueling schedule of the previous fall was discussed. “Too busy. TOO busy.” was her “two” sense. And she was absolutely right. Coupled with the diagnosis of an auto immune disease and my parents leaving us for the South Florida life…it was simply not in the cards.
Brianne, now 6, has loved every minute of having nothing to do in the morning this summer. As the summer has rolled on, her rising time has drifted from 8am…to 9am…to 10am…and even past that some mornings. All-day Kindergarten was brutal on her. I can see the pure joy in her face when she slowly meanders down the stairs in the morning and death breath bombs me (purposely…followed by a giggle) in demand of her breakfast. Then rolls on to the couch to watch a movie while I finish watering the plants and garden. Pure bliss, right? My girls think so.
Little Lo, now 4, has only gotten half the memo. She still bounces into my room somewhere between 5 and 7 in the morning and snuggles into bed with me, following me down the stairs when I get up to run…
“Momma, I want hot chocolate.” she will sleepily request. She’s literally so cute and snuggly in the morning, I can’t say no. I just can’t. Hot chocolate and the Disney Channel…that’s how Lo rolls for the first few hours of the day.
Then one July morning, some of the runners from the Cross Country team stopped by the house. I had to fight back the tears as I watched Brianne remember…as I watched her love for the whole scene rekindle right there on the spot. I remember thinking, “yep, I feel it too, kid.” Shortly thereafter, Brianne started to get up a little earlier and make her way out to the front porch as I was stretching after my run. “The runners” stopped by again the next week, and wave every time they run by. Heart-wrenching for me…as I had to trade in my dream job…but motivating to my little girl, who has literally grown up around the sport, and thinks distance runners are the coolest people on the planet. (Which they are…I mean, duh.)
“Mom, if I get up and get ready in my running clothes can I run with you in the morning?” Brianne asked me this week. She had been hinting at it for weeks, but I could tell this time she was actually ready to trade sleeping in for a morning run.
“Yep, you sure can.” I said. How could I say ‘no?’ After all the “wondering what my kids are going to be passionate about,” I somehow knew this would be it for her.
Day 1- she missed her opportunity. We had enough time to run down the street and back before my husband had to leave for work at his bright-eyed normal of 7:20 am. Ugh. Disappointed and still fired up to run, I gave her my Nike GPS and told her to run the perimeter of the yard and see how many times around add up to a mile. The answer is 10, and she kept running….1.57 miles. Smile on her face the whole way…waving to me each time around. So funny.
Day 2- She made it up and out the door on time and we ran 1.5 miles. Chatted the ENTIRE way…and she cut me off…a lot! My old teammates would die of laughter if they could see it!
Day 3 – 1.75 miles…and we ended at the lake, my favorite morning spot…where I take a picture for my Facebook friends almost every morning. A lot of things have changed over the past year…and that view hasn’t looked the same. My body is in so much pain all the time from my battle with AS. Running just isn’t as healing as is used to be. My parents have moved away…and my everyday life is drastically different without them…especially when the weekend boaters are out on the water as we were for so many years.
Standing there this morning, with my daughter, who talked my ear off and just about tripped me through our entire run…to watch her love something I love as much as I love it is a gift from God I am so grateful for…and very much-needed today.
“Mom, you know what?” Brianne asked, while running, of course.
“What, Brianne?” I responded.
“I’m really glad I have a mommy like you who is a coach, ” as she looks up at me and smiles.
“But I’m not a coach anymore, Brianne.”
“Oh, yes you are, Mommy. Except now, you get to just coach me and Lo Lo. You’re little runners.” she explained.
“Yes, yes I can, Bri Bri Girl. You really love to run, don’t you?” I asked.
“Yep.” she nodded.
“Awesome.” I told her.
We walked up to our front porch to stretch and she reached down for her water bottle just like I do every morning and took a big swig…followed by a crazy face of panic as she realized a pincher bug had crawled into the straw and was now swishing around in her mouth. I died laughing has she spit out the bug and we smashed him.
Lesson #1…close your water bottle cap, kid.
Happy Summer Mornings….