Startled awake by Kevin’s 5:15 am alarm, I lay there, with my head buried under the quilt and my back to him, praying that the 16 month old in the crib over by the far wall didn’t awaken. After all, I had just been up with him 2 hours ago.
The man of the house’s wake up routine begins nearly an hour before he actually gets up. Fearful of oversleeping, he insists on having a number of alarms staggered to go off at random times. Occasionally I will snooze right through them but usually I end up elbowing him (or toe’ing him, depending on how far apart we drifted on the king-sized bed that night). Hard.
Right now, the motorcycle alarm is going off. It’s crazy, the cacophony of sounds that echo in the darkness of our room thanks to the wonders of technology. Did you know that besides the motorcycle, iPhone also offers a piano, car horn, and alien invasion even?! Pretty sure the alien invasion terrifies my sleeping conscious the most. Consequently, those mornings that he sleeps through that one, he may awaken with a bruise already forming.

Today it was the motorcycle that got to me though. Something about that blaring engine, so full of life right there beside me in the darkness, taunting, screaming for me to get up and prepare for a new day annoyed me. I despise getting up early. A night owl by nature, I was always promised as a child that when I became an adult, that would change. Mornings would suddenly become relishly delightful, with fluffy squirrels and bluebirds singing broadway with me as I sat with coffee and a banana on the front porch awaiting the rising sun. Apparently, I’m not an adult yet.

I felt the anger rise. How can he just lay there, sleeping so calmly?! Couldn’t he respect my desire to sleep for 2 measly more hours and find it within himself to toss out his arm and pop that screen?! Now! Didn’t he understand that if the baby awoke, somehow our 3 year old would know this? And then she would bring her bright eyed morning cheerfulness into our cozy dark dungeon and shine it upon my wretched tiredness? And then..then….our 5 year old would somehow become aware of the party in our dungeon and bring his smart aleck 4 foot frame in there to bounce on the bed. And me. Like.a.trampoline. And they would talk. Incessantly! (Who talks before 7 am anyway?! Children, thats who.) All of this because of daggum Steve Jobs had this dumb idea to offer sleepers a ridiculous amount of freakishly annoying alarms.

I cocked my leg in readiness, about to sling shot my foot into his thigh when I felt him wiggle. I heard a sigh, felt a weight shift, and the alarm fell silent. The room stilled. A hand snaked under the covers and softly stroked my back. More weight shift. I felt a soft kiss on my hair. He assumed I was still sleeping. The bed emptied.

A couple stumbles later, a soft light flipped on in the master bath. Our room darkened once more as the door closed. Muted sounds of morning routine drifted past me. He emerged, minutes later, dressed in uniform for a job that requires him to work with high voltage electrical currents in all manner of weather and temperatures. He is on call 24/7. He’s never missed a day of work, and his only allusion to complaint would be his rare utterance of “I’m tired today, babe.”

I watched him through slitted eyes in the dim filtered light from the bathroom as he slid his leather belt into place, then gathered up his phone and hat. Tiptoeing to the side of the bed, he reached out to softly pet my hair, bending to lightly kiss my forehead.

And then he walked out of the room, out of the house, into the dark night air with nothing but the twinkling stars overhead for company.

Published by Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole is a freelance writer and social media specialist skilled in non-profit marketing and grass roots advertising. This mother of four weaves humor, emotion and depth into stories about parenthood and life in the American South.

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