It’s 5:30 AM. I’m up, ready to pour out some thoughts onto a page. But before my fingers get going, I need to get my mind going. Quietly, I attempt to pour 30 grams of coffee beans into the hand grinder. It would be too loud to grind it in the kitchen, so I go behind the laundry room door. Apparently it’s not quiet enough.
When I come out you are waiting for me outside the door. It’s still dark outside. “Hey buddy,” trying to sound cheerful. “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” Usually you’re still tired enough to go right back to bed, but you shake your head with a frown. “Do you want to lay on the couch?” No. Well, I can’t force you back to bed. Besides, ten hours of sleep should be enough. “Are you hungry?” You smile and nod, and start skipping over to the kitchen with your pom-pom beanie sitting loosely over your hood.
The ritual begins. Nothing can be out of its place. Every movement has been practiced hundreds of times. You pull down the jar of granola, the metal scoop, and your blue enamel cup speckled with white. You open the rubber sealed jar and start rooting for a few of the coveted Big Pieces. Once they have been found, you stick the scoop in. A few pieces manage to make it in at the awkward angle, and you dump them into your blue-green, low walled coffee mug that you’ve been using for a bowl for the past year. Ten minutes go by and you’re still scooping. Something about this slow, methodical act keeps you intently engaged. You ask for milk in your blue cup. I’m ready to pour.
Off to the Back Room where I begin my morning work. We pull up a chair next to mine, and put your milk and granola on a napkin for the anticipated spills. I begin typing.
“What are those buttons doing? What are they?” you ask.
I look to see where your finger is pointing. The keyboard. “They’re letters.” I point to each one, “A, B, C, D. That’s how you type the words.”
“Oh. What’s that blue there?”
I look up. “When I highlight the words they turn blue.”
“Oh,” you say, as though everything is making perfect sense. I move the cursor on the screen and you see the arrow move. “Why do you move that black thing around? Why do you?”
“That’s a mouse. It moves the arrow on the screen.”
“Oh.” I guess you aren’t sure what to make of that one. You know you’ve seen a mouse before, but this doesn’t look anything like it.
Realizing that we aren’t getting very far, I ask you if you want to read a book. Your eyes light up. “Yeah!” and you run over to grab a book about different kinds of houses all over the world, If You Lived Here. We settle into the retro orange chair in the corner. When’s the last time we did this without your sisters piling in?
I open up to the first page. “Read it?” You don’t even let me get one sentence in before the questions and comments start coming. “Is that the bedrooms?”
I point to the opposite side of the log house. “I think these are the bedrooms here.”
“Why that man’s axe short? Is that the daddy?” Your finger is on the bearded man. My answer. “Oh.” Then you proceed to point to each member of the household. “That’s Emeth. That’s Cay-a. That’s Annie,” but you’ve already run out of people that could resemble our family structure. “That’s Talia,” point to the kitty cat.
Time passes, and I look up at the clock, realizing I must get ready for work. You climb back up in your chair, content to finish your breakfast. As I’m walking away you ask, “Where’s the foam?”
I stop in my tracks and turn around. “What foam?”
You clarify, “Mommy’s foam, from her choc-it milk.”
Is that why you try to get up before your sisters? To get the foam dregs of mommy’s chocolate milk? “Sorry, bud. Mommy didn’t get up early today. She needed to sleep some more.”
You take in the news. “Will she make some later?”
Maybe, little buddy. Just maybe.