For the past week or so, I’ve been waking up between 5:00 and 5:30 and decided to just roll with it.
I have always been a morning person. In college as an English major, I scheduled all of my classes before noon, usually starting with the earliest offering of a 7:45 am class. To make it even more interesting, my best writing was done under pressure, so I would wake up at 5:00 am on the morning that a paper was due and bang out the entire thing. Didn’t matter if it was 4 pages or 10 — I needed that “must get it done NOW” mentality to get my juices flowing.
Our household “wakeup time” is 6:45 am. My school-aged children share a room and know that they are not allowed to come out before that time. My husband is a night owl and he will keep sleeping until the alarm goes off (and then some). I also have a 9-month old baby so for a long time it has been waking and feeding her during the night, causing me to guard what precious sleep I could.
But in the past month or so, it has shifted. Baby sleeps through the night, though her natural rhythm seems to be to wake early. For awhile, it was 4:00 am. Broke her of that habit, and now she seems to wake around 5:30. She doesn’t even wake with a bang: I will hear her cooing through the monitor or playing with a toy in her crib.
Over the past week, I’ve been waking naturally even earlier than her. Today it was before 5:00. And I have found that I’m not tired. I compensate by going to bed early, but the mornings in the house are peaceful.
That time to myself, time for writing? I’ve found it.
My evenings are always utter exhaustion, cleaning up from the day, and wanting nothing more than a nice Netflix binge. But mornings? Mornings are fresh.
I woke up today probably around 4:45. I took a shower and got dressed. I heard the baby around 5:15, but since she wasn’t crying I finished drying my hair and applying eye cream (because #gettingolder) before retrieving her from her crib.
I went down to the kitchen with all of my writing “supplies”: my Surface, a notebook, and my current book inspirations: Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
I could spoon feed the baby yogurt, drink my coffee, and write.
Then my six-year-old appeared and told me that his blanket had fallen off of his bed. The baby finished her yogurt and began to howl so I put her on the floor with a bowl and a wooden spoon. The eight-year-old wandered through on his way to the bathroom. And my husband came down to the kitchen and began to tell me about how the UPS lady had yelled at him for packaging an Amazon return with duct tape.
All of this before the prescribed wake-up time of 6:45.
I said “EVERYONE. This is MY time to myself. If you want to be near me, fine, but you need to find something to do on your own. Like write or draw or read. It’s Creative Time. Not Talk to Mommy Time.”
I picked up my Surface and headed into our sunroom where I have a small desk. The six-year-old followed me with a stamp set, ink, and some blank paper and is making patterns. My husband is streaming Hamilton from our Amazon Echo and is doing something at the kitchen table with the baby on the floor next to him. I don’t know where the eight-year-old went.
The six-year-old came over to me and showed me what he had been working on with the stamps. “Like my pattern?” he whispered. “Yes,” I whispered back. He went back over to his spot to continue working.
From in the sunroom, I can hear the waterfall from the pond in our backyard. I have moved on to my second cup of coffee.
So maybe not time entirely to myself, but I’ll take it.
To read the writing that I do about pregnancy loss and grief, you can head over to my blog, Grieving Out Loud.