It’s barely dawn. Everyone is still asleep and my house almost sighs with contentment. I, of course, have been up for almost an hour already, making lunches, putting in a load of laundry, and happily sipping my first cup of coffee while catching up on email. I relish this early morning calm—the time to myself when everything is quiet and orderly. But now it’s 6:45am, which means it’s time to change all that.
I pad quietly up the stairs and enter my middle son’s room. It is reasonably clean, and I can make my way to his bed without tripping over anything. It takes only a gentle shake before he stirs and wakes. I tousle his head and walk out. Easy peasy.
My older son’s wake-up call will be far more challenging, and before turning the knob to enter, I take a deep, meditative breath. Light is just beginning to stream through his blinds and I truly wish it wasn’t. What I see makes me automatically cringe, but I cannot look away. Inside out, twisted up dirty clothes litter the floor mingling with the clean ones. Dresser drawers are half open, limp clothes dangling out. There are empty water bottles strewn about, granola bar wrappers, and a bowl with the remnants of the popcorn that he snacked on, maybe last night, but possibly last week. Books and papers are everywhere and I almost step on his laptop laying half hidden under the mess.
My 15-year-old son is the center of it all, blending in with his surroundings, just a lump under tangled sheets and covers. “Hey there, good morning,” I say to the pile which doesn’t stir, so I give him a shake.
“I’m up!” he snaps, in his new man voice that I’m still getting used to. But I know better. He is not up and the minute I walk out he will be snoozing like a baby again.
“Up, up, up,” I sing, knowing full well it’s annoying. “Come on,” I encourage but I can tell I’ve already lost him to REM. I jostle him again more gruffly till he is forced to rise. “Get up now,” I order, shake my head, and bite my tongue as I sidestep out through the disaster.