She bought me an alarm clock that was so loud, you could have heard it down the street. I’d shut it off and go back to sleep. She’d stand in the doorway to my room, every fifteen minutes, and yell for me to get up. I’d ask her to give me just a few more minutes. She’d send the dog into my room so he’d bark and jump on my bed; and jump all over me. I didn’t care.
The only thing that ever worked, was when she literally froze me out of the room. She’d open the windows as far as they’d go. And then she’d pull the sheet and blankets off me. But of course, that only worked in the winter.
Once I’d moved out of my parents’ house, I had no one to force me out of bed. So I had to devise my own solutions. Crazy as this sounds, to this day, I set my watch fifteen minutes ahead. So when it’s really 7:00 a.m., my watch says it’s 7:15. Then I set my alarm fifteen minutes early, let’s say for 6:45. But it’s really 6:30. And, of course, I set the alarm to ring again, just in case I go back to sleep. So I fool myself into thinking I’m late.
This gives me a half a half hour of coming-to-terms-with-the-world time. Taking-my-sweet-time, time. Ridiculous, I know, but it works. Even after all these years.
Throughout my career my worst nightmare has been the 8:00 a.m. meeting. For that matter, I’m not even crazy about the 9:00 a.m. meeting. Same thing with those very early morning flights. And on those occasions when I absolutely, positively must be somewhere that early, I never sleep the night before. I toss and turn all night because I’m terrified that either I won’t hear the alarm, or I’ll reach over, shut it off and go back to sleep.
When I do get up at the crack of dawn, I always say to myself: “Why don’t I do this everyday? It is so nice to get up early, when it’s calm and peaceful; when I don’t have to rush.” And it’s true. I can have a leisurely breakfast. Read the paper, thoroughly. Meditate to prepare myself for the day ahead. Do a half hour of pilates. Spend a little more time in the shower, and putting my make up on. Get in a little daydreaming time. Plan my day. Maybe even make lunch, to take with me.
And then, there are the sunrises. I love sunrises. Aside from being beautiful, they are cheerful and positive. Full of hope. Such a lovely, peaceful start to the day. So much so that each time I’m up early I promise myself I’ll do it every day, whether I have to, or not. If I’m lucky, it lasts for three days.
Yesterday morning was one of those days when I had to get up early. 5:30 a.m., to be precise. That was the time I set my first alarm. In fact, I didn’t get out of bed until 6:15, but that’s still a fair bit earlier than my usual 7:00 a.m. I volunteer at a hospital on Tuesdays; and yesterday I was asked to be there for 8:00 a.m. Unfortunately it was a grey, rainy day so there was no sunrise to enjoy. But I did get to read the paper. I did get to have breakfast and make my lunch. I did get to exercise and enjoy a leisurely shower. And I did get to prepare myself for the very busy day ahead. I even had time to get myself a cup of coffee, at the hospital, before I had to be at my post.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast is calling for plenty of sunshine. I’ll be getting up early enough to greet the dawn. Maybe.