Once upon a time, I believed. I believed sleep lost during mid-night feedings, colic, and mysterious baby ailments would be waiting for me on the other side of toddler-hood. I believed that my long-lost minutes of sleep would be returned.
Then, as each child entered their pre-teen years, I realized I was delusional. Cozy minutes snuggling under warm blankets until I was ready, disintegrated into dust.
Accepting that I exist to serve the masses, or as I like to call them: College Age Child, Middle Child and Diva, is a job that I cherish. Most of the time.
If you have children, you are probably up early too. So, I do not expect sympathy. That is not the reason for this post. My reason is comic relief, because if we can't laugh at/with/or about our children, the dark minutes of the morning would be extremely boring.
Trudging through the murky darkness, my eyes concentrated on the device glaring from the other side. My scowl thickened at the minutes remaining. Or rather, the ones not remaining, as I stumbled in the direction of its greenish glare.
Another minute ticked by, silently mocking me.
The adorable Middle Child, who I love with all my heart, was the reason my alarm was set for an hour earlier than normal. Leaving my travel-weary husband snoozing, my body shifted into auto-pilot.
A pair of yoga pants and a clean t-shirt were my ensemble of choice. Pulling my wavy hair into an acceptable pony tail, I listened for sounds from upstairs. My ears were met only with the silence of a sleeping house.
Middle Child is lucky that my 2nd job, as Back Up Alarm, paid well. (->Insert any parental sarcastic grumbling here.<-)
Middle Child and I climbed into the car and drove into the quiet darkness of B.F.E. The natural brightness of the full moon illuminated a mysterious radiance over the trees, guiding us through our subdivision.
Thirty minutes to destination. Thirty minutes back.
These minutes are best spent listening to the radio. It is believed music soothes the savage beast. (And I feel that teenagers, at times, fall under the beast category.)
I adjusted the radio volume, knowing early morning conversations need not be wasted on unimportant pleasantries, unless I had the patience for grunts and one worded answers.
So I waited and allowed the beast, I mean Middle Child, to fully awaken.
Twenty minutes in, I decided to dip my toe into the murky abyss, by asking a question. Yes, this question should have been covered beforehand, like a week ago or last night, but I am not always on top of the mothering thing.
"Why do you have to be at school thirty minutes before the rest of the team?” My eyes shifted from the red light to his silhouette beside me, while I waited for an answer.
“We have to collect the poop.” His deep voice casually filled the car, as if collecting poop was a normal thing kids do a 6:00 a.m, like eating breakfast or brushing their teeth.
Curious of why my son chose a skill that involved animal feces, I asked "Why?"
“That's our skill.”
Their skill? I still didn't understand. “So, the Farm Skills Team is about.....poop?”
“No." His answer was laced with teenage annoyance. "It covers many different skills, Mom, but we chose poop for this competition.”
I woke up an hour earlier for poop? My husband took the reins of anything FFA related years ago with our oldest and I believe Poop Team fell securely in his territory.
Mental Note: Talk to husband about this ASAP.
As I parked close to the Ag Building, I unlocked the back hatch and waited for him to grab his bags. Darkness still engulfed us, yet we were not alone. Other parents, sat in their cars, waiting for their children to feed animals. Others drove off and I wondered if their kids were poop collectors, like mine.
It was my duty (no pun intended) to give him my best pre-coffee advice, so as he shouldered his backpack, I turned and said, “Have fun and please wash your hands."
“We have gloves, Mom.” The back door closed swiftly, leaving me alone with his parting statement and a plan to buy more disinfectant.
It took thirty minutes for me to drive home. The sun began to peak through, highlighting the world's beauty. And for those precious, thirty minutes all I could think of was poop.