This is how I used to wake up in the morning: I practically didn't.
I went to bed at one or two, and snoozed in a dark, quiet room (quiet to me--not everyone would agree that a blasting fan a quiet room makes) without a care in my head until some natural impulse--circadian rhythms? what were those again?--prompted me to flutter my lashes against my sleepy cheek and gently greet the day. Whether David was still in bed or not (he usually was) he knew not to talk too much--I once had to speak to a roommate about her penchant for playing NPR in the mornings--"I can't have TALKING before noon." I'd drift to the kitchen and put on the kettle, humming to myself as I poured a steaming cup of French Vanilla Love, and then float back to my computer to check e-mail while twirling my hair. In those pre-Facebook days, I actually had e-mail, and the experience was akin to reading the morning post presented by a footman from a silver salver. After a period of time known as "however long I damn well pleased," I'd tiptoe outside for the newspaper, and eat a bagel while catching up on the weekend's movies and baseball statistics.
Sic transit gloria mundi.
This is how I woke up this morning: at 6:30, and violently.
I had gone to sleep at a respectable 11:15, but bolted awake 15 minutes later because I heard a cough emanating from across the hall. I ask you, when did a single example of nocturnal throat-clearing become a signal to jolt me from my dreams with a pounding heart? Somehow I'm able to move from "I hear a cough!" to "Do we need to go to the emergency room?" faster than Jarrah can get there when she hears "Anyone want a fruit leather?" I couldn't get back to sleep for an hour, and like a beleaguered relationship, it was never as good as the first time.
At 6:30, I'm awakened by thundering feet, as if Jarrah had invited a basketball team to play princess in her room (let's not even go there.) I leap from bed in a confused rage, lurching towards the hallway. On the way, I fall over a pile of laundry I'd conveniently arranged in my doorway, and as I trip, something akin to a barbecue fork enters the ball of my foot from somewhere in said pile of laundry. Why is it in there? You tell me. Though Jarrah is now standing sweetly in my sight, pants-less and clutching a teddy bear, I shriek "@#$%&*!" and reach down to yank a knitting needle from my tender flesh. A spot of blood flowers from the entry point as I limp, naked, towards the bathroom for the Bacitracin and band-aids, closely followed by Jarrah repeating "Mommy? Let me see your owie?" As I shiver and swab my gushing foot, I look up at Jarrah and attempt to form a couple of pre-dawn sentences:
"We need to talk. Your nightlight is still on. You are to stay in your room until...WAIT! (I shriek as she dutifully turns to go) GO POTTY NOW THAT YOU'RE UP! Then go back to your room. No, wait...yes! Go back to your room until it's a decent hour."
"But what do I do if I'm hungry?" she innocently inquires.
"I will...leave some breakfast out for you when I'm done here. But you stay in your room until that light goes out." She nods seriously, as if recognizing it would be foolhardy to argue with the naked, wounded woman with the crazy bed-head. As for me, I'm no longer clear on what point I was trying to make, since I began speaking before my brain had switched on.
I stumble out to the kitchen, wishing I had a robe, and throw together a bowl of Organic Cinnamon Grahams "all dried up" (second ingredient still sugar) and a sippy cup of "spark-uh-ling cranberry" and then stumble back. Jarrah is curled on her bed, watching me warily.
"I made you some breakfast. Stay in your room until it's...light." She nods.
I climb back in bed and hear her feet pounding across the wood floor almost instantly. As I close my eyes, I wonder if I'm going to get lockjaw from my stab wound.