Mornings, Revised

Just a few days ago, the mornings were ours, and with it the slow rising, the steaming cups of tea, the sky changing shades of red and orange and gold until the orb finally burst over the horizon.

And then we had two middle schoolers.

It’s day two of school. The dog and I are sitting in our usual spot. Our daughter is knocking on the bathroom door to enter (it isn’t me in there, I promise). Our son is not moving from his heap of blankets, previously unacquainted with what it means to wake up everyday at 6:30, so my husband is playing “Bang the Drum” by Todd Rungren on repeat until he gets out of bed. The tea is still steeping.

When they were young, the evenings were ours. Our two oldest were bathed at 7 and in bed by 7:30, leaving us at least 3 glorious hours together, alone, to watch tv or play scrabble, or if I was feeling inspired to write. As they’ve gotten older, bedtime has gotten later. And now they’re taking occupation in our mornings too, banging cabinets, not getting out of bed, making lunches, eating breakfast… it’s like they think they live here too or something!

This morning shift means either we get up even earlier or I have to accept the season for what it is: a new season of transitions. A season during which time transforms my small people into people who borrow my shoes and clothes and stand next to me to see whether they are as tall as me or taller yet. A season during which their fears and worries grow abundantly more complex and singular, and it takes time to navigate those concerns. A season that requires so much more of us than changing diapers ever did. And while it feels at times inconvenient and disruptive to our time right now, this time will be over with them in ten years. That’s it. And then the whole house will be ours, filled with empty spaces and no children’s alarms or cabinets slammed or trips to school.

It’s morning, and Brandon has to leave the office now to take the oldest to school, and if I don’t get up from the couch soon I’ll be running late, and our youngest will be rushed out the door, and then we will all be on our way to our independent jobs and responsibilities.

For every season, a time to give something of meaning to the day, a time to help something grow.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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