Earlier this week, joking around on Twitter, I fabricated a fantasy meet up among some of my favorite blogging girlfriends, people I’ve never met in person, but all who have a special place in my heart.
In my fantasy, Christine, Michelle, Mary, Kristen, Denise and I all meet up in Maryland, where three out of the six of us live. In the Twitter conversation, Michelle even offered me a place to say, saying that I could bunk up with her visiting in-laws (you were serious, Michelle, right? I’m a very low maintenance house guest. So long as I have access to an espresso maker, filtered water, a guest room with a firm mattress, synthetic down pillows, a quiet space for my morning yoga practice, and wi-fi, you won’t even know I’m there! Oh, and a fully stocked vegan kitchen, of course).
As if the meet up gods had been waiting to grant my wish, Denise turned up in Jackson New Jersey the very next day, a mere forty minutes away from where I live!
“I wish I had known you were in town,” I comment on her Facebook Thread.
“We’ll be here until the morning,” Denise responds.
My mind begins to race. It feels as if the opportunity to meet Denise has been placed right in front of me. I think about meeting Denise and get giddy. Denise has become a very special virtual friend to me. Not only does she have a great blog, but she has been incredibly supportive of mine. On top of that, we drink green smoothies together. She joined my plank a day challenge. She has a great sense of humor. I always look forward to our chats on Facebook or Twitter. I imagine that meeting Denise will feel like a cross between visiting with a long lost friend and meeting a rock star.
Denise and I message back and forth. She will be heading out around 9:00 in the morning so my window to get out there for a quick hello will be early.
I back into the time that Denise will be leaving her campground. If she leaves by 9:00, then I should plan to arrive by 8:00, which means I need to leave my house by 7:00, since the forty minutes that I think it will take me to get to Jackson is really an hour (for some reason in my mind, everything is forty minutes away).
Getting my kids into the car by 7:00 will be ugly.
I can’t get Miss F. to her bus stop by 8:25 and the bus stop is literally at the end of our driveway. There is always something, a book she needs to find, a knot in her hair, a last minute trip to the bathroom, a change of clothing. There are many mornings where she runs out of the house still brushing her teeth while the bus rolls down our street.
Her swim practices begin at 9:15 every morning a mile from where we live, and we have never once made it there on time.
I think about trying to get out of the house the next day by 7:00. There will be drama and changes of clothing and the need to pack very large backpacks full of toys for the car trip, followed by runs to the bathroom, more changes of clothing, and an argument over shutting off the TV (which I never gave them permission to put on in the first place which leads to an even larger argument) and we will get into the car at 7:45 instead of 7:00 because that’s just how it is, and we will get there with very little time to spare before Denise has to leave. I also have concerns that this will take place on the morning after a swim meet that will end late at night. Trying to wake up Miss F. the mornings after a swim meet is like trying to rouse a Chihuahua that has taken elephant tranquilizers. A little voice tells me to that maybe I should leave well enough alone.
Then, I begin to ponder why mornings are so difficult, and I realize that I have three major liabilities when it comes to morning routine:
1) I try to cram in a ton of tasks during the early morning hours, blogging, laundry, cleaning, paying bills, etc. and I lose track of time.
2) I assume that everything takes less time than it does. I think that I can get through a shower and drying my hair in ten minutes when in reality, it’s thirty.
3) I have unrealistic expectations of my kids. I assume that once I tell my kids to get dressed, I can walk away and return to whatever task I was doing, and that they will be self-motivated to do it. Then, when I check back on them twenty minutes later, they’re still not dressed. Clearly this is because I have not been around to reinforce the message.
I have to become honest with myself about what I can expect from my kids and where I need to pick up the morning slack. If I can build more structure around my mornings, everyone will benefit and it will help us get out the door more easily on those days when not getting out the door means missing a great opportunity, like meeting Denise. It may take some time to turn around our morning crazies, but the awareness I gained from my almost meet up with Denise is the first step in calming them.
Next time, Denise, I’ll be ready!
©2012 Ilene Evans