The clock on my computer reads 6:38 AM. The sky outside my window is beginning to glow as the sun rises. My workroom door is closed, but I can hear the sounds of waking from the boys’ room. Their door open and the elephant like thudding takes them to the bathroom and back. I can hear their discussion as they get dressed.
“Is it time yet?”
“You go in.”
It’s nearly seven. My morning writing time is over. I ask myself for one more paragraph. One more sentence. One more word. It’s like the negotiation I had with my alarm clock an hour ago. Ten more minutes? Five? But then I was only stealing the time from myself. This time belongs to all of us.
Finally, Owen has talked James into opening my door.
“Mama!” he says in his babyish way when he wants something. He throws his skinny arms around me. “It’s snuggle time!”
Back in September, the idea of snuggle time before school would have been absurd. Mornings were a constant state of chaos. The boys are in two different elementary schools this year. Their buses arrive at the same time in two different places. The two schools would be in different towns if they were any farther apart. After months of trying different combinations of buses and dropping off and picking up, we found a routine that works—most of the time.
One morning this winter, Owen came into my workroom at 7:00. His eyes were sleepy and a little red. He loves his new school, but the work is harder and there is a lot more of it. Fourth grade is a big jump from third. There isn’t always time to just play and that really eats away at him. A nine-year-old boy needs to play as much as his forty-year-old mom needs time alone behind a closed door.
“Mom, do you have time to snuggle with me before breakfast?”
In all honesty, I didn’t see how we had time for one more thing in our morning routine. But he definitely needed some snuggle time, so I shut down my computer and we cuddled under an old wool afghan on the sofa to watch the first few minutes of Arthur on PBS. We haven’t missed a day since. My mother used to say, “You have time for what you make time for.” and I’ve always found this to be true. My boys are growing up and before long I know the last thing in the world they’ll want to do is snuggle up with me and watch PBS. But for now they do. And so do I.