The cell phone alarm chimes at 6 a.m. I can never locate my cell phone at 6 a.m. At some point in the night the phone fairy came into my room and moved it like a chess pawn.
I find the source of my annoyance and slap it to “SNOOZE.” Eight more minutes of blissful sleep.
But 6:08 a.m. rolls around. It’s time to wake the sleeping bear.
There was a time when I couldn’t wait to wake up my son, even for all of the hell he put me through as a newborn, toddler and preschooler: The countless hours of wakefulness during the middle of the night. The days when he decided he was simply done with naps. The nights when he just wasn’t tired and insisted on staying up. “Just five more minutes, PLEASE?”
Walking him back to his room, I would chant over and over again: “I can’t wait until I have to wake you up for school!”
Yet I had no idea of the fury unleashed from a 12-year-old boy in the early morning hours. Covers are loudly dumped onto his floor. Closet doors slide along their tracks, banging into each other in the middle.
He drags his size-10 feet along our hallway to the bathroom, where every single morning, he tries to close the door at least four times. BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG.
I roll out of bed and in a hushed, yet firm tone tell him, “NO ONE ELSE IS AWAKE! THE DOOR DOESN’T CLOSE! STOP TRYING TO CLOSE THE DOOR!”
6:18 a.m. I pray to the Sleep God that I can get an extra 14 minutes before I have to get up and start packing the dreadful lunches no one eats in my family.
The bathroom vent switch is flipped and I hear a constant hummmm. The shower curtain hooks move along the rod like fingernails on a chalkboard. Finally, the shower begins to flow.
6:22 a.m. I give up. I wanted extra sleep today. I NEEDED extra sleep today (because I stayed up until midnight watching “Beetlejuice” on the free movie channel… but still).
So I give my husband a nudge, begging him, “Please, get up. You don’t have to pack him a lunch today. It’s pizza day. You just have to make sure he gets on the bus.”
He agrees, but tells me he will get up at 6:45 a.m.–plenty of time, he says, to get the pre-teen on the bus.
I don’t know what the happened between 6:45 and 6:55 a.m., but the child missed the bus.
“YOU HAD ONE JOB!” I yelled. “ONE!”
“He was sitting in the chair playing with his phone. I saw the bus from our kitchen window. She stopped,” he said.
“Her job is to stop at the end of our driveway. YOUR job, today, was to make sure he was at the end of the driveway!” I said to no one but the pillow under my head.
“I don’t know why DAD is blaming me,” the boy yelled as he thumped back into my still dark, cozy room.
“It’s your fault you weren’t ready!” my husband yelled from the bathroom.
Finally I rolled out of bed. It was pointless for me to lie there while they were throwing themselves under the bus.
Tomorrow is another day. But it will start just as early.
Melissa Linebrink is a columnist for “The Mommy Wars” in Ohio’s The Chronicle-Telegram. You can read more at her blog, Parenthood: the New Crazy Train.