Morning has always been my favorite time of day. I'm a morning person by nature and though you have every right to hate me for this, I've always thought it was a good, even fun, thing. For most of my life, I've woken up early, easily and quickly; my parents say that, as a baby, I would go from dead asleep to standing upright and jumping up and down in my crib in two seconds flat.
In college, I always woke up early and would often head to the library when it opened (Party animal!). I loved the quiet, the cool air, the empty spaces. Every soft loveseat and neatly lined-up chair seemed ready and ripe for my picking.
As an adult, before I had kids, I still woke up early. My favorite days were when I worked in the evenings. I would wake up early, without an alarm clock, and have several hours to read the newspaper or my book, drink tea, and pad around the house in my bathrobe watching the birds search for food outside my windows. I usually headed out to a dance class in mid-morning, then rehearsal, then a shift teaching Pilates or massaging wealthy ladies with necks stiff from lifting their Louis Vuitton luggage off the baggage carousel.
On other days, I worked early, teaching Pilates or giving massages to people before they headed off to work. On those days, I did need an alarm clock, as waking up at 4:30 am is not what even I consider a reasonable morning hour. But I still woke up quickly and came to enjoy the feeling of my work day being over by noon.
Now, of course, I have a new reason (actually TWO new reasons) for getting up early.
Most days, I am startled awake by E crying desperately in her crib. Jumping up while still half asleep, I land in a stiff crouch like an arthritic ninja. I wrap my bathrobe around me and stumble to her room to pick her up and nestle into the glider for a nursing session. She is grumpy when she wakes up but usually finds her smile half way through nursing. As her belly fills, her face softens, the wrinkles on her forehead disappear and her eyes open a few millimeters more to gaze up at me as if she's just noticed my arrival.
Oh hi, she seems to say, GOOD MORNING.
"Good morning Ellie," I always say as I kiss her cheek, its softness on my lips bringing me fully awake, fully present. "Here's to a beautiful day."