Mornings are always a mix of emotions for me. It is my favorite time of day. As the sun rises I listen to the birds sing and squawk outside my window. When the wind moves just a bit, the leaves in the trees dance and the sound reminds me of the ocean coming up to the shore. In the Fall, the air is crisp but the sun is warm making it the perfect temperature for a cozy robe, a good book and a big cup of Jo. And then, before my mind is ready to accept it, before my body is prepared for the task that is at hand, in an unfair moment of consciousness and reality, I hear it. The warning siren, as I refer to it. That small little box, with time and a buzzer. The box that never really stops until I hit that magical button. Yes, it is the waking bell, the warning to all around, the signal for those most intelligent to move out and for me to move in. The “waking” of my seven year old, red headed, fiery dragon, Alissa, my daughter.
What is it about red heads anyway? What is that passion that lights their hair red and leaves the rest of us smoldering from the heat of their tempers?
I would not normally feel so informed to call out on red-heads, but I have done research. Personal research that is, for I have two. Yes that’s right two reds and one brown. My daughters both were born with red hair and my son with brown. Both girls are shall we say, a bit feisty in the morning and my son, well, he whistles, sings, chatters a good morning and a few “I love you mom” every now and again. He makes his own breakfast, gets dressed, and even helps with the dishes. Quite frankly, he has more pizazz in the morning than any one person could ever hope for. A little more than “this” one person is really ready for, but hey, no complaints from me. I’d rather whistle a little Dixie than slay a dragon any morning.
This morning was no different than any other, well, almost. Over the past three weeks all of our mornings have been “different”. For the first time in 8 years, I am currently not working. Due to a medical leave that is soon to be over, I have been at home recuperating from a surgery. So, much to my children’s delight, I have not been rushed in the mornings and have been home to greet them in the afternoons. I have been able to enjoy the special parts of motherhood that so often get overlooked when trying to juggle work, family and all of the extra activities that enter our lives. If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend you know what I mean. Our lives get busier and busier yet we have no idea what it is we are really doing. Which brings me to the point of my story. It is obvious that no one knows “what” I am doing.
As I woke the dragon she growled and snarled, hissed and spit and then she spoke. This small little body with the adorable trussled hair and sleepy eyes looked at her mother and with out a bit of hesitation said these few words. “It is not fare!” Not fare because You (me) get to stay home all day and do nothing but sleep and watch t.v. and play.” Yes the secret was out! I no longer could hide behind my facade of recovery. My playing days were over. It was time to send my magical fairy home, you know the one that made all of the dinners, mopped the floors, did the laundry, patched up torn dolls, cleaned the dishes, cleaned out closets and cupboards and straightened drawers. The one that woke at dawn to prepare for the waking of the dragon herself, made breakfast, arranged homework, picked out clothes and drove her to school. The same fairy that took my pain pills in order to get all of these tasks accomplished, days after surgery and with little complaint, to the small child. Yes it was time for the Fairy to leave because clearly I was having too much fun and life for some of us did not look fair.
It is such a tough lesson, the one we teach our kids. That lesson of fair and unfair and appreciation for one another. Yes life can be unfair. But more often than not, it is more fair than we think. That old cliche about the grass being greener….. There was never a saying more true.
So to all of you mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends, to the caregiviers of the world, the single dads, or you dads that stay home to care for your own little dragons,
Give your fairy and pat on the back, and feel the appreciation!