(Not So) Alarming

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

I have always set two alarms. One for 5:30 a.m. and one for 6:15 a.m. I figured out the latest I can get up, fly by the seat of my pants on a jeans and school t-shirt day, is 6:30 a.m. I have to skip my morning pages, although I don’t like doing that, scald my throat glugging my coffee, sweep in whatever food fits into my lunch bag, and get going. I can make it to work on time and look (mostly) normal. This isn’t ideal, but having tried it a few times, it’s acceptable.

Recently, I’ve (sort of) given up my morning alarm clock. Most nights I still toss and turn, but it’s been so much better. What has worked is setting the alarm for that latest possible jump out of bed our you’ll be so late time. My I’ve-hit-the-snooze-button-for-an-entire-hour-it’s-time-to-suck-it-up-and-get-out-of-bed-already time. One alarm. 6:30 a.m. I wake up at 5:00 and sometimes go back to sleep. I wake up at 5:15 and sometimes go back to sleep. I wake up at 5:50 and decide not to go back to sleep. It’s almost like I’m hitting the snooze button without the annoyance of an alarm clock beeping. Except it is annoying. But it isn’t a heart stopping I’m going to rip that thing out of the wall annoying.

If I start tossing and turning in the middle of the night, rather than counting the number of hours of sleep I haven’t had, I tell myself I can “sleep in” until 6:30. All will be well with the world. On most days, I wake up a little past 5:30 and get up without any snooze button calculations. I turn off the alarm so it doesn’t wake my husband while I’m getting ready, even though he has an amazing ability to sleep through it. This is a much calmer process. I’ve finally learned how to wake up without an alarm. Sort of.

Morning routine

finds us dodging each other
bumping almost shoulder to shoulder
stepping over a wet towel 
or bunched up pajamas
if it's a bad morning,
we'll argue
if it's a good morning,
we'll argue a little less
"clean up the toothpaste worms from the sink"
I remind her 
for the hundredth time
"I KNOW!"
she snatches the brush 
before I can get to it
so I plug in the hair dryer instead
I decide to let the exasperation 
and tone roll off
not. worth. it.
I wear my thick-skinned fur coat
24/7
grit my teeth, 
breathe in, 
breathe out
and carry on 
with my morning
"this eye looks good
 but why is this eye 
just NOT working?!"
a white washcloth smudges off
a crooked layer of eyeliner
along with a few tears
she doesn't want me to see
I lean in, mascara wand
trying to make some magic
happen for my own eyes
I don't have time 
to smudge it off
"how? how can you 
put on mascara
without opening your mouth?"
I continue applying my face
she continues applying hers,
sneaking a glance at my 
expertise
with a mascara wand
"I've been doing this longer 
than you've been alive"
she leans in with her own wand
mouth wide open
satisfied,
she steps back 
I look at our reflection
and try not to think
about the days
I braided her hair
in front of this mirror
and she'd want to help
with my makeup
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Another (Sleepless)Saturday Morning

Saturday, March 19, 2022

It’s another Saturday morning. I’m supposed to be sleeping in. I should be sleeping in. Sleep has a hate-hate relationship with me. I have a love-hate relationship with it. Love it, but hate it because I don’t ever seem to get enough. I try, but my body won’t have it. So, I should be sleeping.

Instead, I got up at 5:30. If I keep my eyes closed and take long deep breaths, I can go back to sleep. Nope. Not working. Maybe if I go to the bathroom, I won’t think about going while I’m trying to go back to sleep and that might help. I grab at the air in front of me, remembering my opened suitcase is still at the foot of the bed and I left my shoes somewhere on my right. I make it there and back to bed.

Breathe in, breathe out. What do I need to do today? What’s one more for-me thing I can squeeze in before Monday’s bleary-eyed wake up call to go back to work? I should be sleeping, but my brain is chatting, loudly. And it has jumped on my chest wanting to ponder the universe like a toddler freshly awake, yanking me out of bed. Wanting to play. Wanting pancakes. Just five more minutes…

Nope. Not having it. Body is done with sleep even though it didn’t need as much as I wanted to give it. I get up. The house rests in the deep silence of morning. Still dark outside. Cold. I make my coffee, adding extra cinnamon. I pop a slice of sourdough bread from my favorite bakery into the toaster. Put away last night’s clean dishes while the last bit of coffee gurgles into my cup. I get to my end of the kitchen table, my make-shift writing space. I open my notebook and start my daily three pages of writing. Not usually anything good, just a space to let out all of those thoughts that dragged me out of bed.

What do I do with the rest of the morning? No one is up to start demanding things for me. Not even the dog wants to be let out.

A walk?

It’s still dark. Too cold.

So, wear a jacket.

I’m going to they gym in a while.

Laundry?

Too loud.

Another cup of coffee?

Maybe later.

Go back to bed, then.

I’m not sleepy.

I hear cars in the distance, the neighborhood yawns awake. The sky starts to blink open, morning light appears out of nowhere. I’m dressed for the gym so I’m not tempted to stay home.

I’m not a morning person, but these few hours were nice today. When I try to get some early quiet time, it backfires, so I’ve stopped trying. Sleep got me out of bed early today so I could play with a little bit of me time.