It’s 5:00 am and as I sit here typing, I can’t help but wonder why I am punishing myself by sitting in the cold downstairs office feeling a pressing need to do something. The house is silent except for the tiny waterfall cadence of the fish tank filter. The thought flits through my mind that the filter needs to be changed along with a thousand other things that should be taken care of; the dishes in the sink, the dirty laundry in the hampers, the exams and papers that need to be graded, the book that needs to be edited, the chapters that need to be written, the girl scout badges that need to be sewn on, the soccer uniform that needs to be mended and a million other things that need to be done. Instead, I sit here, shivering slightly and typing away.
Each day begins with this usual sanity-saving ritualistic routine; the early waking up, the pre-sunrise prayers, the moments to make my mental to-do list and the built-in “me” time that precludes any logging in. In those early morning moments, it’s the silence that I relish… the quiet so loud that it’s only slightly broken up by the tap, tap, tapping of the keys on the keyboard. Like the chanting mantra of a studied yogi, this is where I find my peace. An extra hour of sleep seems like a small sacrifice for the chance to do something that doesn’t need to be done. In less than two hours, I know that the Jekyll and Hyde transformation of my sanctuary will begin as every corner is filled with the rowdy getting-ready-for-the-day shouts of my husband and three children chasing each other down the stairs, crashing into the office, and filling every corner with their impossible to ignore presence. This alone is enough motivation for the keyboard clicking to double its pace.
Yet, as much as I relish the rambunctious noise and crazy schedules that fill the day and leave me utterly exhausted after my emails and online classes are wrapped up by midnight, I can’t help but look out into the early predawn darkness and hope for an extra moment of quiet before the sun starts streaming through the cherry wood blinds, urging my lightning bolts to wake up. It’s the calm before the storm. As minutes change to hours, I find myself bracing for the deluge and mentally prepare for the start of another insane day. And with that thought, the calm begins to break before the thin line of dawn even winds its way through the dark skies. Soon enough, I hear the clichéd pitter-patter of three pairs of little feet, sounding more like the stomping of sleepy elephants, making their way towards me.
Deep breath… big smile… it looks like an early start today. J-Suzy Ismail