Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Morning Time

I wake up in the morning with one eye open. Sleep is a negative in my rest bank account. It is 5:30am according to the fluorescent blue of my cell phone clock. The room was still dark, the reminder that the Midwest is part of that dreaded "daylight savings time" and even a month later, my body is still not adjusted.

My eyes are instantly assaulted with the bare light bulb glare of my husband's closet just to the left of the bed. Who really runs at this hour in the last days of November? I mumble a groggy, caffeine-deprived good morning and stumble to the adjacent bathroom. After I complete that description-not-needed morning ritual, I brush the fuzzies off my teeth, splash cold water on my face, and make the trek downstairs in this mid-century home. Every step on the old steps creaked under my weight and I'm only a buck forty.

I debated on turning on the kitchen light when my indecision was solved when my husband, winter running gear-clad, flicked the switch, flicked me a quick kiss, and ran out the door in the early morning blast. He would chase the wind for a half-hour and I would chase away the fuzzies over a latte.

The hands on the ends of my arms know their duty, turn on the Breville Espresso maker, push the button on the grinder, my Ethiopian Yigarchaffe at the ready. I see my hands open the refrigerator and grabbed the chilled frothing mug and Full Circle 2 % Organic Milk. As I pour the milk in the mug and look at my coffee-shop envious display of syrup, I contemplate the mood I am in today. I watch my hands again, there is something about my hands that intrigue me this morning, I can't place the thought. Anyway, I start the familiar whirl of the frother, watching the creamy white substance foam and swirl. I take it away just as it is a rich thickness, perhaps I am an undercover barista today. I fill the cup and pack down the fine, ground, bean that promise to take me from sleep to steady in a few moments. I prepare the machine, push the button, and watch like a kid, waiting to lick the spoon, as the foamy brown dips and circles in the double shot glass. My moment of quiet bliss is rewarded with a nice creama at the same time as the sun peaks through the 100 year old trees in my back yard.

I love my lattes, they are my guilty pleasure. This morning I survey the row of mugs and antique tea cups to decide which one would hold my precious libation. I decide I miss my son so I grab my "United States Navy Mom" mug and pour in the Torani Hazelnut syrup. I have a routine with my morning ritual and just as the creama is right, I turn off the machine and quickly pour it into the waiting mug. My froth has settled the way I like it, my lattes are probably 1/2 latte and 1/2 cappachino, I really like the foamy cap so I stir it up and pour it in. I only the whole world could settle their differences and become a pretty swirl like my espresso and milk.

Again, I watch my hands grab the towel and clean off the frothy machine, turn it off, grab the mug and take that first sip, I sigh, the morning will be fine, I can make breakfast now. The kettle is brewing for a bowl if instant oatmeal, it is a cold morning in St. Louis. Just as the whistle announces its readiness, my husbands returns sweaty from his run. I hand him the ice cold water waiting for his arrival. He gulps it down, utters a thanks, and steps into the dining room to record his progress, he is training for a 5K next May.

I prepare the two bowls of oatmeal, not for me, for my husband and my 13-year-old-son who loves sleep more than video games. I knocked on his door and flicked the switch, "good morning, breakfast is ready, time to get up." I think he already woke up because he is fully clothed but hiding under the blanket, trying to steal a few more seconds of slumber.

He comes rambling down the stairs to a bowl of steamy and creamy maple brown sugar oatmeal. As a treat, I gave him a little white chocolate cocoa perfectly frothed. He will brave the 7:30am bus with his belly warm. I stand back, near the window, of this old house and watch these men eat. I smile to myself, I will have the house to myself soon. They are each engrossed in their thoughts of the day, my son with the boot-camp weight of a bookbag and my husband on his laptop checking emails. We all stand and say our prayers before the bus, my son looks at me and says, "its 7:25 mom"as if I didn't know it took him forever to eat. We still pray and he is tapping his foot, thinking I don't notice. It is our routine, our moment to stop and thank God for the night and ask Him to guide us through the day. My son ends his "Amen" with a simultaneous peck on the cheek and a burst out the door, I still look at the door and try to figure out how he managed that. He did an Olympic sprint to the bus stop, it was cold and he only wore a hoodie. I stopped telling him to grab his heavy coat, "its not winter yet" is his usual response. Oh well, I close the door and sip the rest of my latte. I look at the empty mug with a sense of satisfaction and a sense of sadness, my bliss is over.

My husband comes downstairs with his linebacker shoulders in a nice pinstriped suit. He is ready to charge into the halls of academia and mold the young minds of tomorrow. He gives me a hug, picks up his briefcase and struts out the door. The house is silent. I stand in the foyer and look to the right as the sun streams into the living room windows. I go into that room, surrounded by books, and just stand there, it is quiet. I think I will make another latte, I only have an hour before the girls wake up and my happy, chaotic, hilarious, active, and exhausting day begins.

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