Do you ever wake up peacefully to the early morning sun shining through the bedroom window blinds and gently warming your face just like people seem to do in the movies? I don’t.
OK, I can’t even paint the picture properly. I just can’t do it, because it doesn’t happen like that. That’s not real life. Usually I wake up with a kid’s foot in my face or freezing cold because all of the blankets mysteriously ended up on the other side of the bed, or with a sore neck because my pillow got lost or something like that. The best/worst wake-ups though, are the ones when you open your eyes slowly to see a little person staring at you waiting to startle the you-know-what out of you before you even truly start your day.
How about this one?
Have you even been forced to wake up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday by your first grader asking to go to Tofino today because their classmate is going with her cousins and he thinks it’d be fun to bump into her there?
That’s how I woke up last weekend.
“Dude!” I hissed at my son. “It’s 5:30 in the morning. It’s way too early for you to be talking to me about this let alone talking to me at all. Go away.”
To my shock, he did.
I then spent the next 20 minutes trying to hide from my attack kitty before giving up and getting up for the day to join my son downstairs. So much for a Saturday sleep-in. (And when I say “sleep in”, I mean would have been able to sleep until just before 7 a.m. My son is proud to call us “early birds” — him by choice, me by necessity. Either way, it’s a time of the day that we can usually sneak in some special time to hang out together.)
Where was I?
Have you ever groggily wandered into your east-facing kitchen shortly before 6 a.m. and seen the shin shining into and illuminating the shiny stainless steel appliances, the spotless counter top and the bare dining table and feel grateful and at peace for having such a tidy home?
I have. But not for the last seven years or so.
After being rudely awoken by Tofino Dude, I wandered into my kitchen and, horrified, I scanned the room and wondered where I’d been when the elementary school frat party was thrown the night before. I don’t recall a lot of noise but admittedly, those rascals can be pretty stealth when they’re up to no good.
It wasn’t the toys being out that bothered me. We often leave completed LEGO or block structures and the like up so work can be continued the following day. If it’s part of a structure, it can stay out, if it’s loose, it needs to be put away.
It wasn’t even the papers strewn about the counter. School work comes home and it stays out until both parents get a chance to have a look. Mail can be left out until it’s dealt with, and so on. As much as I love to have a completely tidy house, we actually live there and quite a lot of the time you can tell people do indeed occupy the home.
It wasn’t any of that daily life mess that bothered me. It was that darn sun shining through the window and reflecting off of all the little specks of dust floating through my home making it look like I’ve never vacuumed or dusted the place since moving in three quarters of a decade ago.
It was hard to miss…and infuriating.
“It looks like it’s snowing inside, Mom!” said my darling child.
“That’s not at all a helpful comment,” I replied, still cranky I was up with the birds and hadn’t even pushed start on my coffeemaker.
I got the coffee going and grabbed a dust rag to wipe down the dusty surfaces when I was stopped in my tracks by my almost seven-year-old.
“Mom,” he said. “Nobody else is awake right now, let’s have some special time.”
I protested. “I just need to clean this mess first, buddy.”
He wasn’t having it.
“Mom,” he said, shielding his eyes from the sun’s rays. “The sun is just going to move and the inside will disappear. Just be patient.”
And like the Lord above was listening only to him, a cloud moved to block out the sun and in the blink of an eye, the air looked clear again.
“See!” he said.
Of course the dust was still there. We just could no longer see it. Even so, I put down my rag and joined my growing guy for some special one-on-one time, having been reminded of a valuable lesson.
It’s always going to be messy, there’s no getting around it. But sometimes a simple shift in perspective can change everything.