You woke up at 6:30 a.m.
For many parents this is normal— bless their hearts. Some children wake up at the ungodly hours of 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. Every. Morning.
But you have never woken up that early. I’ve spent most of your five years on earth waking you up at 9:00 a.m. because I cannot bear for you to not be awake and alive and being you for another second.
But last week it happened. 6:30 a.m. and you called my name from your bed. I went into your room groggy–eyed and coffee-less and found a wiry, hyper, smiling from ear-to-ear little girl who was ready to conquer the world.
“Hi baby- you’re up early,” I said to you, still blinking away the sleep from my eyes.
“I know- I can’t help it. I’m just ready to talk, talk, talk!!!” you said with reckless abandon, ” So what do you want to talk about mom?”
“Well- I want to talk about how I need to go downstairs and get some coffee and sit outside on the porch for about five minutes so I can wake up. Then we can talk talk talk.”
Your face fell. Hurt and shocked, bewildered that I didn’t have a list of five things to talk about, but instead, preferred coffee.
“Mom, I really want us to stay in my bedroom all morning and just talk alllllll morning.”
“I want to do that too AnnieBoo- but first I kind of have a morning routine that helps me be a better person (coffee and creating melodramas between the birds from my view on the front porch makes me a way better person).”
I suggested we go downstairs. Have breakfast. And then go back upstairs and talk talk talk.
You countered. You always counter. You would be an amazing lawyer with your counter-offers, ridiculous concessions, and uncanny ability to find loopholes in the system. Your counter offer was this:
“OK Mom. You go downstairs and get coffee and then come back upstairs with your coffee and I will make it feel like outside and then we can talk talk talk!!!”
Usually, your counter offers are so brilliant, so kind, so creative that I actually concede just to see how you are going to pull it off.
“Deal.” I said.
What happened next, Annie, I will remember until the day I die.
Coffee in hand, still groggy-eyed but won over by your precious persistence, I came back to find your bedroom door closed.
I knocked. And you said “Come in” in a strange, high-pitched voice.
I opened your door to a sea of green. In the five minutes since I had gone downstairs for coffee you had taken every green colored book and covered your bedroom floor with green grass. Then you individually selected animals- you have about one hundred of them- that like to be in the grass. Bunnies. A chicken. A turtle. All of your stuffed cats and dogs. Two big rabbits. And your frog, Friggly.
You had rummaged through your costume box, pulled out a pair of butterfly wings, put them on and were standing in your bed- with all the blankets pulled around you like a nest- and you were chirping and tweeting like a bird.
And with coffee in my hand and tears in my eyes and the biggest smile I have experienced in a long time, starting from my toes and landing right on my lips- I realized all over again just how small my own agenda is sometimes.
And I realized what I might get instead if I lay my own desires down.
I remembered why people are more important than coffee and birds.
Though coffee and birds are a close second.
Doing things out of order, not in the plans or the agenda, or the rhythm of my normal routine-
laying down the selfishness that keeps me from being selfless
is far better for my soul than what I perceive I need to be a better person.
The five-year-old girl who only wanted to snuggle in bed with her momma and talk talk talk! The girl who decided to create the outside world and become a bird so that I would stay put and just do things a little differently. You taught me all over again that sometimes my agenda is worth laying down.
A lot of times my agenda is worth laying down.
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