Friday, January 21, 2011

Making Peace With the Early Morning Hours

Around 6:00 am on Christmas morning in my backyard
     I have a love-hate relationship with the early morning hours of the day. When I was a lazy, self-indulgent teenager, I  loved sleeping in till like, noon. I shudder at the thought now. I remember warm summer mornings where I was unpleasantly awoken by those *&^%$green parrots that escaped from the pet store fire like 30 years ago. They have managed to successfully reproduce and love chomping bites out of my persimmons. They find me wherever I go! Of course, all of you in the Los Angeles area know about these obnoxiously LOUD parrots. You've heard them, too, huh?
     Then there were the years when Tim and I were married without children yet. We'd groggily open one eye on a late Saturday morning and say to one another, "Enjoy these weekends of sleeping in, smoochkins (yes, that was the corny name we had for one another back then). After the kiddos come we'll be up early enough."
     If only I had known the half of it! Elena, Camille, and Leanne slept till sane- people hours soon enough in their infancy, but Chloe was a whole different story. She always has been! That bright-eyed, dimpled, springy-curled child broke me into accepting 5 am wake- ups as par for the course. It was either that, or pull my hair out in desperation. Actually, she was preparing me for the last days of my pregnancy with Daisy.
     I had gotten HUGE during my pregnancy with Daisy. Wouldn't you know it, she didn't want to come out when she was "supposed to." Days past her due date, I would fall into bed exhausted, but hopeful (will this be the night I go into labor? Oh, please God! Let it be so!), and awaken around 3 am or so with intermittent, mild contractions. I would lay in bed for at least an hour, counting the contractions and the minutes, sleepy, but wondering if this was "it." Well, I thought to myself, if I am in labor and I get up, the contractions will keep on going. So, I'd get up, go to the kitchen for a snack, and sit at the table reading my Bible. Too many mornings, the sun would rise over the field behind my house, and I would sit there with a calm, relaxed uterus - all contractions had ceased completely. The sun, bright orange and glowing like fire some mornings, seemed to be saying, "Not this morning, dear. Perhaps soon...." Those mornings, mixed with discouragement and exhaustion, were accentuated by a glorious sunrise. It was the one redemptive aspect of those 10 days I waited till I finally went to the hospital and evicted that 9 1/2+ pound child. Amniohooks have their place in modern day labor (although I think they are way overused for the most part).
     Anyway, fast forward to my current schedule. With six kids, ages 2 to 15, in various places throughout the day, and multiple demands on my time, energy, and organizational skills,  I absolutely have to start the day out with prayer and Bible reading. It makes such a difference in my day. The problem is I can't seem to get up early enough. I frequently find Daisy and Julia have arrived in my bed throughout the night and half the time I didn't even know it! If I can get out of bed by 5:45 a.m. and am very quiet, so as not to wake them, then I can help get Tim's food ready for his long days and then sneak into my office for some reading time, journaling, and prayer. Sometimes, they wake up, though, and I'm holding Julia on my lap who wants to cuddle as I read, but she really needs a diaper change. Or, she's hungry, and because Chloe is still usually an early riser (thank God now!), I'll send Julia to Chloe who gets her some cereal. I then have a couple more minutes to jot down some prayers I like to write out.
     The part of my morning I treasure the most, however, is observing the sunrise over my backyard field. I simply am in awe most mornings. I pause and look out the window in my office. Frequently, I say, "Oh, thank you Lord. Good morning to you, too. You are simply awesome!" The heavens declare the glory of God....Indeed they do. They also reveal a loving Father who rewards those who diligently seek him. He whispers to me in those sunrises, "Today's another day to experience my presence and joy in your life. I love that you love my expressions of kindness toward you. I will be with you today in all things."
     Oh how I need that reminder!
The view out of the back room next to my office at 6:30 am or so


foutfolk said...

I too struggled most of my young adult life with waking in the morning. Throughout high school my running coach picked me up three days a week so I could get 5 or so miles in BEFORE school. All other mornings, I slept in to the last second!

I remember more than a couple times in college that I slept in so late that I got up and went to eat dinner at the cafeteria. :) and :(

Now, the cow has me on a regular waking schedule. We sometimes sleep in (lay around on the sofa until 6:30 or 7:00 when I have a delay for school) waiting for the coffee to finish. And during the this winter time I have gotten into the habit of waking up at 3:00 am to put another couple of logs in the stove. It's throw them in and go right back to bed.

Your back yard oasis is beautiful! I love the meandering sidewalk. And did you put a bay window in the kitchen or was it there before? I saw you got the cabinets finished. YEAH!

I wish I had an excuse to come to CA. Like my rental property needs work or something. I would be sure to visit.

19lt70 said...

Yes! We finished our backyard in early spring of 2010. It's beautiful and I'm gardening quite a bit and loving it. On my blog I highlight some of my yard and home projects. We also got a bay window in early 2008 to accommodate one more child at our kitchen table(Julia). We still squeeze in, but the window is beautiful. Your projects inspire me!