Why I get up at 5 AM

A few years ago my friend told me that she and her husband get up at 5AM together. They wake up, sneak down to the basement and exercise together. That's not a polite way of saying they hook up every morning. They really exercise! They are on a first name basis with the guy who does the exercise videos they watch. Oh haaay ShaunT! She told me about how nice it was to have this time together with her husband to do something fun (?) and not focus on the kids for 30 minutes. 

I thought she was nuts. At the time I was a few months post partum and there was NOTHING better than sleeping more. Even 4 minutes more was a wonderful time. But proving once again that our pediatrician is a genius, she was right that the no sleeping was "just a season".  Our boys sleep the whole night now, making it possible to have a golden hour or two when they are asleep and I am awake. That time alone helps me focus, and I know I really need it to be a better daughter, mom, wife, person. 

 If you do get up at 5, please be sure to wear your sequin sweatshirt.

If you do get up at 5, please be sure to wear your sequin sweatshirt.

So I've been getting up at 5 for about 6 weeks now. And while it's hard to get out of my warm bed, it takes even more discipline to not jump right into the things of the day. My brain wakes up and wants to tell me about all of the things that are undone. Oh! I could make muffins for the family! I could clean the basement! If I get up even earlier I could make the world's best lunch for my child that all the parents could be impressed with that my kid won't eat! I need to send Mom's aide a fruit basket for her birthday! I've decided that the first 45 minutes of the day are mine. I usually exercise, but I don't have to.  Sometimes I write, or read something that I wanted to read. But it has to be for me. I often have to remind myself that the time is for me. When my yoga mat is the only space in the basement not covered by toys, it takes a lot of letting go to just be okay with that and grateful I have the time and space to be down there. 

 My yoga studio.

My yoga studio.

Dad used to say that "This is the definition of insanity- trying the same thing over and over and expecting the same result". But I'm realizing that so much of my life is like that. I can try the same approach with Mom two times, and one time it will be a meaningful connection, and the other time it will be met with anger and a complete lack of connection. A few weeks ago we had a nice day together. It's the first time in a very long time that I could say that. I picked Mom and her aide up and we went to go look at the river. Mom used to love being around the water and I thought she would again. She did and despite complaining about being cold and the slight mist that was falling, she seemed very happy to be outside. Then we went to a restaurant for dessert and Mom loved the food, didn't repeat the same stories and drank a lot of gingerale. So I decided that I would try the same thing a few weeks later. We never even got out the door. 

 Mom and her wonderful aide at that dinner.

Mom and her wonderful aide at that dinner.

This happens with my kids too. I can make the same food for them two nights in a row. The first night they will love it and the second night only beg for "chita" (milk). We can go to the same place, or do the same drop off at school and one day they cry or pout, and the next day they run away from us- excited to start their day. It's so frustrating and insane. The part of me that feels anxious wiggles and squirms at the unpredictability of big parts of my day. So for now, I am thankful for the consistency of my 5 am alarm, for the yoga mat waiting for me that was used as an airplane runway last night by my five year old and for the planned time to help me with my unplanned day. 

Patricia Cruz