My favorite time of day begins at about 30 seconds after my alarm goes off. Now, you might be wondering what kind of sicko finds this enjoyable, but let me explain. Soon after my alarm, and subsequently my sons’ alarms go off, I hear a pitter patter. If the door shuts, I know it’s my three year old coming out of his room. If it’s a lighter gait, and fewer steps, I know I’m about to be jumped on by my six year old. Regardless, it’s almost as if the boys are waiting for the alarm as the signal that it’s okay to come in my room and wake me up.
Before I can even see their faces, I can smell their “baby” skin. I glimpse out of one half-closed eye, still creased from sleep, barely able to face the early hour. And suddenly, their freckled noses are smashed against mine, greeting me with good-morning kisses.
Sometimes I am lucky, or unlucky depending on how many pillows they want to pile on me, and have both boys come in to greet me. The six year old, however, typically just walks by with a “hey mom,” and dresses himself, races down the steps, and goes to watch TV before he’s off to school. But on the rare mornings he wants to snuggle, I try to hold him tight.
My conversations with both of them are nothing elaborate or deep. We don’t ponder the future or discuss their hopes and dreams. I don’t hear about what kind of man they hope to be or how can I help shape their career paths. Instead, we usually try and figure out if it will rain that day, if it’s lunchbox day, and what extracurricular, exciting activity is planned for the evening. Occasionally I hear about a friend’s misdoings at school or the wild dream they had the night before.
These conversations are often followed by some sort of wrestling move that typically leaves me bruised or half-crying, as 38 lbs of hard-rock flesh jumps on me in every form and fashion. As they bounce up and down, using my body as their trampoline, I have to remind myself this won’t last forever. I already see my older son more rarely coming in for morning snuggles. So I endure the pain and silently give all those other moms of boys an invisible high five for knowing what only we go through.
By this time, I am certainly awake. My 75-lb dog has usually tried to join in on the fun a few times, much to his dismay, and the lights are equivalent to the sun shining through my eyes whether I want them to or not. We are fully up and ready to face the day. But for those few blissful minutes before the chaos begins, I am so very thankful. I am thankful for their health, their beauty, their kisses, their smiles, their kindness to others, and their sweetness to me. And in those moments, I wish we’d woken up 15 minutes earlier just for this ritual to last a little longer.
While I certainly don’t welcome the alarm each day, I know I’ll miss those footsteps running down the hall. Their failed attempts at trying to be quiet and surprise me as they jump in my bed to greet me will be a memory. It will eventually become just the dreaded alarm again. I’ll miss caressing their cheeks and blonde, transparent hair that will eventually grow more brunette. Their soft skin will become weathered and textured and more manly. One day, they will be young men, and grown men, and snuggling and cuddling is going to be weird or gross. So yes, for those 15 minutes each morning, I don’t care what hour it is, I’ll take it.