Opening Day

On most mornings that we are home together, my darling spouse is the one hitting the snooze button.  His version of ‘waking up’ consists of grabbing the comforter and sitting on top of the heating vent, returning to sleep while robbing me and our room of any warmth.  Our son’s fall directly from that apple tree.  They come upstairs wrapped in their warm blankets and slink onto the couch with their pillows still attached to their heads.  A neighbor looking in my window would not be surprised to see a bedroom mattress with a sleeping lump in my kitchen, his open mouth waiting for the Mama bird to drop in nourishment.

I have seen vertical children wandering in like a exile lost at sea just returning to civilization:

“is there school today?”
“what’s for breakfast?”
“what’s going on?”
“where am I?”

They forget to do things like get dressed.  Brush their teeth.  Grab a backpack.  Wear a coat – in the winter.  We celebrate the child that comes upstairs dressed.  It’s truly a joyous occasion when he is in the van with both shoes on (or in his hand, details can be complicated). 

It’s no wonder that Mom is so grumpy every morning.  I get up, cook, clean, get myself ready for work, break up fights, find pants (for one kid), find AR books (for another), say things like “yes, you have to go to school today, it’s the law” “no, I don’t know why your brother spit on your plate”, pick up band aid wrappers and used tissues, find lost belts, pack instruments, eat my breakfast in the car and wear my coffee. 

But there is one morning that is sacred.  One morning where boys will quietly get up, never hitting the snooze, find their clothes that they lovingly spread out the night before so there would be no fumbling around.  Jump out of bed, make coffee or cocoa, have their thermos at the ready, make breakfast without arguing, brush teeth on their own and smile as they leave the house in the dark with fortifications and bundled like we lived in the arctic.

That holy morning is November 15, opening day.

The kids and husband have their breakfast, snack, and drinks set by the door.  They not only have their clothes picked out, they are checked over, prepared, layered, and set out in order of dressing.   They think ahead, prepare and channel their inner Davy Crockett.  They remember things like gloves, hats, scarves, food, drink and radios.  These are the same people who cannot remember to shower or change underwear on a daily basis.

This one morning will never cease to amaze me.  Even Christmas morning, to them, does not warrant that amount of preparation.  As I’m wild-eyed and crazed, attempting to get the turkey in the oven, watch kids open their presents, take pictures, set out breakfast, and clean up messes so I can enjoy my cold coffee, only to spill it on my ‘fancy’ robe (that wears stains like the ghosts of Christmas past), I’m looked upon as if I’ve lost my mind. 

Not on November 15.  This is my morning to sip hot coffee, observe the quiet racing. (Quiet because you don't want to scare the deer.  In our house.) See a boy who can't wear more than a t-shirt to school when it's freezing outside, hug me with 8 shirts and two flannels on.  Watch the man, who thinks it's too far to walk to the pole barn, step outside in the dawn and cold and trudge in the woods for hours.  My morning to stare with my sunglasses on at this bunch of florescent-orange clad, awake, clean, warm hunters and gatherers while wondering what they did with my family. 

Then, in a flash of a moment, I know these are my people:  I kissed one goodbye and I saw pajamas sticking out of his sweatpants. 


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