I can remember when I started getting up at 5am on school days. It was the waning days of Sam’s middle school career, in May or June 2015. It was one of the those times when the stress in the house was thick enough to cut with a knife. The comfort of a predictable school routine was about to be upset, half of our house was packed and put in storage, and one potential house deal had gone down the tubes, incurring significant financial outlay. Our home of 24 years was about to go on the market, and the future was uncertain. How long would it take to sell? Were we making the right move to Guilderland? Was the school going to work out for Sam? When would we ever find a house we wanted to live in?
All of these thoughts made sleeping difficult, so by the time 4:30am came around after hours of tossing and turning, a cup of coffee on my front porch seemed like just what the doctor ordered. That porch became my sanctuary during those mornings in May and June 2015. The coffee, the rockers, the sight and scent of flowers (everything looked ship-shape because the house had to have great curb appeal to sell), the birds quietly chirping, it all added up to a little bit of piece in the midst of chaos. I believe those mornings helped me retain my sanity, and somehow come out the other side in a good place.
Fast forward 4 years, and I am still rising at 5am on school days. For the most part, the chaos has moved on, our home is stable, beautiful, and just what we wanted. Sam has had the most successful 4 years of school ever. The early rising time still means peace and tranquility to me, a chance to read, or plan menus, or organize my weekly “to do” list. Enjoying the first cup of coffee of the day in a quiet house grounds me, and helps me to focus on whatever tasks I have on the agenda for the day.
The last days at GHS are here, and maybe the last days of rising at 5am for me. As Sam becomes more independent, he will be getting himself up, getting ready, and heading off to HVCC on his own, driving! My presence won’t be required. In some ways it’s hard to let go and have the feeling of being less needed, in other ways it’s something to rejoice about. It’s the end of this era of Sam’s life, leaving public school and heading out on the first steps towards being an adult. I can remember some days in the last 18 years that I thought would never end, some times of stress that I thought I could not get through. My 5am strategy helped me weather a few of them. Though I may not make a regular habit of rising early in the future, I know it will be there if I need to fall back on it.