When I opened one eye and punched the button that makes my bedside clock glow it was 5:56 a.m.
I won't lie. I only got up because I had to pee. Truth: I tried to ignore it. I pulled up the covers and turned off the fan hoping if I kept myself warm it would buy me a few more minutes in dreamland.
But 6 a.m. is no longer the beast it once was to me. These days if I get up at 6 I could have a good three hours to myself before the kids make a peep. We will slowly work ourselves back into the school-time schedule over the next few weeks, but I'm not going to think about that until after 8 o'clock. Right now it's my morning ... my quiet time.
Early mornings always remind me of my Grandpa B. I would spend a week or three with my grandparents during the summers when I was a kid. (Cue the rush of nostalgia ... gosh I looked forward to those visits!) I would sleep upstairs, so when nature called I'd have to make my way down to the bathroom in the dark, yet there would always be this glow of light creeping into the hallway from the kitchen. I would make my way out there, half stumbling, bleary-eyed and wild-haired, and there would be Grandpa sitting in his sheepskin-covered chair at the kitchen table, drinking coffee.
It felt like the middle of the night. It was probably six in the morning.
Even as a kid I could appreciate the smell of the morning's first pot of coffee. Of course then I associated coffee with old people. Go figure. (As I pause typing to reach for my own steaming cup.)
I don't know what my grandpa did at the kitchen table at that hour, other than drink coffee. Think about what he had to do that day? Make plans with Grandma for their next camping and fishing trip? Wonder how to keep this active youngster busy another day? Probably the ordinary stuff of life. No matter. The memories of those mornings will always hold something a little magical for me. Because somewhere in my mind I'm sure I thought Grandpa was up and shaved and hair combed and drinking coffee ... waiting for me. Looking forward to eating Grandma's fried eggs and bacon and toast ... with me. Making plans to pick up some strawberries at the roadside stand down the way ... with me.
Now here I am, enjoying the peacefulness of the morning, the time to sip another cup of coffee, finally able to appreciate Grandpa's (and Grandma's) early rising.
When I was in college I had a friend who always got up at 5:30, every morning. Not a morning person myself, I thought he was crazy and I told him so. You know what he said to me? "If you don't get up at 5:30 you miss the best part of the day."
The more times I watch the sun rise, the more I realize he was right. And ... dare I say ... these recent summer mornings hold their own sweetness now, too.