Bump. Bump. Bump.
I open one eye, just enough to look at the window. Through the cracks between the blind and the window trim, I can see it's still dark. Of course it is. It's January, and the sun doesn't rise until 7:14 am.
Bump. Bump. Bump. The sound of a three-year-old bottom making its way down the stairs. Pause. Pitter patter, pitter patter. Little feet running to the bathroom.
I smile, closing my eyes again, and snuggle further into the cocoon of blankets. Beside me, the man who has shared my bed for over a decade lies motionless. It takes more than an awake child to rouse him.
Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter. Those feet again, this time running towards my room. I wait, knowing. Around to my side of the bed comes the girl. She looks at my eyes, seeing them open, and smiles, tilting her head to one side. I pull the blankets back, per our unspoken agreement, and she throws her own blanket to me before climbing up.
She settles in, head on my pillow, resting on the space between my shoulder and elbow. Her legs are curled up, as are mine, and we form a perfect ball, her body a small mirror of my own. The thick down comforter covers us both, and her dad, finally woken by all of the rustling, throws one arm over both of us, making us more of an oval now, rather than a circle. She sighs, long and deep, and closes her eyes. I smile again, and close my eyes, too.
Time passes, that time that moves in hours or maybe just seconds, and I hear, "You're so snuggly." Her soft little hand, caressing my arm, and I can feel the quiet slipping away. "Mom," she asks, "Is it almost my birthday?" "Mom, how does that song go? Bombs bursting in air?" "Mom? Is it morning time?" I finally respond. "Almost."
Most of the year I'm an early riser. I like the quiet of the morning, before the kids get up, and before my responsibilities are calling my name. Just me, my coffee, and my laptop. My girl is the next one up, and the day's first snuggle takes place in the recliner, with the same random questions and deep sighs of contentment. The mornings are ours, while the boys in our house sleep as long as they can.
There are a few months of the year when the sun is shy, the mornings cold, and my early morning spunk is hibernating. During these months, my alarm clock is the 41 pound girl climbing into our bed, snuggling into my side, her curls splayed on my pillow. Sharing that quiet time between night and morning, and eventually putting her little hands on my face, saying "Mom. Let's get up. I'm hungry."
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