I recently read this piece about how the people who bring us the early morning news wake up and get ready for the day. I’ve always loves articles like that. I love hearing about morning routines, night time routines, self-care, meal planning. I just really love hearing about how individuals live their every day lives. But today I thought about how much I love mornings.
Mornings are a quiet and sacred time for me. Especially now that it’s cooler and cooler outside. Fiona helps me to stay focused and present in the mornings. She thrives on routine and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.
First things first, I get out of bed—usually before Ryan because he loves to sleep in and I love to experience the morning. Also because the dog is in her kennel and she’s tap dancing to let us know that she’s ready to start the day. I sneak into the bathroom so that I can take care of business first without her noticing that I’m up. Sometimes it even works. I wash my face, pull my hair up and go get the pup.
Fiona always busts out of the door of her kennel as soon as I unlock it like a prisoner bound for the electric chair set free at the last minute. Some days she goes to her water dish and drinks the entire thing and then sits pretty by the front door. Other mornings, when it’s an emergency, she goes straight for the front door. I hook her up to the yard leash, grab a big glass of water and go sit on the porch with her. If I don’t hang out there with her, she won’t run or play. She just pees and then comes inside. And then she’s anxious and jumpy all morning or requests to be let out every three minutes. So I know that if I want to get any work done, we need to sit out here on the porch for a solid twenty minutes. Which I have come to appreciate for a lot of reasons.
Sitting out on the porch watching Fiona is good for the soul. For starters, there’s a sunbeam that breaks through the trees right on the steps and you can sit there and soak in the Vitamin D and warm your skin. I bring my phone to take photos because there’s always something new and lovely but it’s far enough outside of the house that the wifi isn’t working so I can’t distract myself. So it’s a time to put down my phone, soak in the sunshine, feel my body weight on the ground, and be present and meditate. Sometimes we do sun salutations. Sometimes we sing hymns. But usually we just sit there with our eyes closed and try really hard not to think about all the things on the to do list.
Once we come in side, there’s a method and Fiona will not let you skip a step. She dutifully travels to each station and waits for you to catch up and follow protocol.
Step One: give Fiona a treat for being such a good girl and sitting well and all that.
Step Two: Get a scoop of Kiki’s food and feed her first so that she knows that we know that she’s the queen of the castle.
Step Three: Get a scoop of Fiona’s food and dump it in her food dish—don’t forget to brace yourself for the loud noise that comes with it.
Step Four: Take Fiona’s water dish into the kitchen to re-fill it and then return it to its original spot.
Step Five: Make a pot of coffee or fill a glass of water.
Step Six: Sit at the dining room table, near Fiona’s food, so that we can all enjoy this meal together. Fiona will not eat unless or until someone’s sitting in there with her. We all gather at the table, of sorts.
From there, we’re all on our own. Ryan usually leaves for work and I start mine–which is a mixture of house chores, errands, and blog work. I usually start by practicing drawing because it’s important to start with something fun. I write. I shower. I do the dishes. I run to the grocery store or the post office. Sometimes we go for a walk. Sometimes we eat breakfast. Sometimes we don’t do anything at all, really. I almost never turn on the television unless folding laundry is on the to-do list that day. I’m very proud of that. It’s a lot easier for me to not turn on the television than it is to turn the television off.
I used to have podcasts running all the time from the minute I got up till the minute Ryan got home from work. I have realized that without quiet, I wasn’t able to get into my own head as much as I like, though. So I only listen when I’m running errands or doing chores but if I’m trying to be creative, I try to keep it quiet in the house. I’ve found that really helps me. If I can’t stand the quiet, I’ll often listen to French pop music on Spotify because I love the sound and I won’t get too wrapped up in the lyrics. Right now, as I’m typing this, it’s quiet except for Fiona who is waffling back and forth between napping and trying to get me to let her outside. But she doesn’t need to go outside—she just saw a cat out there earlier and keeps remembering it. She’s so sweet. I love watching her little belly move up and down as she sleeps.
(Things I have said to my husband in the past 36 hours: We can’t have a kid. Our dog is so cute that I can barely function—I would be useless with a little baby around.)
The gratitude that I have for this season of our lives is very strong. I’m struck by it every day—at least a little bit. There are times when I’m crabby and unaware of how good I’ve got it and how lucky I am. That’s true. But there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not, if only for a second, awed at this life. I love that I have it. I hope it continues on for at least another day.