The 4:30 alarm is terrifying. I did what I could to soften its power. The piercing tones have been replaced by Edvard Greig’s “Morning”, and the volume is as low as I can get it.
Still, soothing oboe or not, the first notes assault my eardrums and I throw back the covers, dismount from the bed like an aged gymnast finishing a pommel horse routine, and fumble with my phone lest I wake up my wife or children.
It’s a heart pounding, breathless, confused three seconds of terror, but it’s effective.
It begins the morning routine. I’d like to say, after a few minutes I am energized and ready to face the day, but that never comes. I start the laundry, stand in the kitchen trying to figure out what to do next, and ultimately decide to go back to bed. I repeat the process at 6:30, much to my wife’s delight (insert sarcastic tone here).
But 6:30 is really too late. I am in charge of breakfast, lunches, backpacks, clothes and transportation, and we have to be out the door at 7:09 or the Universe will crumble; my universe anyway.
Seventy days into the school year, and you’d think it would be smooth sailing, but it isn’t. Something always seems to get overlooked, and I am too frantic to notice.
“Oh yeah, Benny has lace-up shoes now, that’ll be five minutes.”
“Wait, Mike, you forgot to do the other side of your homework, get started.”
“Wait, we’re out of bread? Now what am I making for lunches?”
Extinguished pilot lights, resetting of mousetraps, lost keys, lost homework folders, lost shoes, lost lunch boxes-each eat away valuable minutes and no matter what I do, we are running to the truck ten minutes behind schedule.
Frost shrouds the windshield.
It isn’t completely icy yet, but it requires more than a casual wipe of the wipers.
Ugh. I forgot.
“Ok, everyone back in, gotta let the truck warm up.” (Translation: Screw you New England.)
We wait. I have another cup of coffee and the boys dance to music on “Alexa.” Soon enough our break is over and everyone climbs into the slightly warmer cab of the truck. Leather seats creak and the sound of seatbelts buckling is more pronounced in the crisp air.
“Look Dad, snowflakes are on the window!”
I hit the brakes and put it in park.
Snowflakes are on the window.
He’s right. There it is. The ice isn’t a hassle or hardship. It’s a reminder:
Slow down. Stop. Take a breath. What do you see?
Crystals form and stretch over glass, yet heat billows inside the truck. We’re together and warm and if we concentrate, and listen to a four year old, we can look at something beautiful and fleeting.
What else am I not appreciating?
Months ago my morning routine was much different. Stormy clouds weighed on my shoulders, and a job that was negatively impacting my outlook on life closed in around me.
I would hold my face in my hands as the water cascaded over me in the shower, wondering where I went wrong in life. I dreaded everything. Sunday evening blues set in and sleeping more seemed better than thinking about work. Little could break through my negative attitude. What difference was I making? Why am I not more grateful? Where’s my passion? What am I doing? How can I get better? I’m trapped.
I would mutter good-byes and give half-hearted hugs and kisses. I’d stare out the window and ride along the highways rushing towards unhappiness, head on the headrest, thumbs on the steering wheel and cursing the sun for making me squint.
I’m not making that commute anymore.
Mornings are tough. Winter is cold. Time waits for none of us. I’m not sure how to unlock it all, but I think the first step is gratitude. Live an intentional life. Find the beauty in a frosted windshield.
A mile down the road and those snowflakes will vanish.
Owner Spowerks LLC