A week ago, one of the dogs would step on my abdomen at 5:15 or 5:27 or 6:02 so we'd all have to pee.
I'd find my socks, fumble for chocolate in the pantry, and tear at any obliques left in me as I slid the stuck sliding glass door across some invisible tar.
Doing an about face, I'd bump into two morning-hair kids using dolphin trills to communicate their desperate plea for Waffles: heated up, one plain, the other with butter, syrup, cut-up please.
Ohmyhell. Where is my bed. Where is my brain. Where is my husband?
Gone. All three of them. Rooster early, gone, gone, gone. They gawn.
Since the morning starts off in such a reactive haze, the day has no choice but to follow suit. It's maybe 6:30am before I am typically shoving balls of tissues in my ears and texting my husband - Hi Honey Good Day? When is ETA? - like it is 4:30 in the afternoon. Dude probably just barely got to the front gate at Quantico himself.
Something had to change.
I knew I needed to take control of my mind and the morning before the day had me pinging off the sides of the house like a rejected skeeball.
That's when I started excusing myself from the dogs, the children, the coffee mug first thing in the morning. For twenty minutes I park myself in my son's room, in front of his window. If I'm early enough there is a warm circle of sunrise coming through his (dog nose print-y) window. I sit in front of it breathing out slowly. Only sometimes - when I'm lucky - does Sadie join me. It reminds me of our quiet time at the parks together before children.
For a few days, I concentrated on single words: strong, alert, good, patient, kind, and steady. I'd repeat them over and over again in my mind while exhaling loudly and slowly. At first, my thoughts drifted and caught every noise in the house: TV (Cartoon Network?), kid feet in the kitchen (No, not the Peeps again.), water bowl (Needs refilling?), heater blowing (Isn't it April?), second hand ticking (Are my twenty minutes up yet?).
By day four, however, I am able to exhale loudly for only three minutes before reaching the calm place. Once in that sweet spot of not being stuck on any one thought, I focus on the soft orange glow coming through the window. Like a High Priestess, those golden rays stretch outward like a blessing to those hungry for light and vitamin D. I stay in a thoughtless float as long as possible.
Abby is crying. Grayson has awakened her from a sound sleep. She almost missed Tom & Jerry. Sparrow is lapping up all the water remaining in her bowl. My cell phone is ringing. We need toilet paper and tissues. Maybe I'll do tacos tonight for dinner.
The sun is high, my face feels full from warmth, and I stand up, only one foot asleep this time.
Smiling, Sadie and I get up from our Place of Zen and I kiss the top of her soft blonde head. We are ready for this day and all the beautiful chaos it will bring to us.
And when it gets out of hand, I will join her on the couch for a breather.