The alarm starts clamoring for attention. Needy, whining, high-maintenance, pulling him out of the silky arms of sleep. He glances at the time. 4:35 a.m. Sleep, such a gentle and patient companion.
5:00 a.m. ALARM. AGAIN. He rolls up into a sitting position and gradually finds the right combination of awareness and energy to stand, like a baby calf finding its legs for the first time. He shuffles over to the sink and brushes his teeth. Still in a bit of a fog, he shuffles some more to get to his running shoes, sits downs, puts them on, and walks toward the door.
He’s not what you would call a “morning person,” although he prefer not to be tied down to any particular part of the day. But mornings, he’s always had a tolerant relationship with them, at best. Never been really good at them. Mornings are not his thing.
5:15 a.m. He’s out the door. It’s dark, but humid, and not even a hint of daylight. Hmph, “lazy sun,” he thought to himself as the morning shuffle gradually improves into a gait suitable to raise his heart rate. If you saw him out there, you might not view it as jogging, more like light jogging at best. But it works. He’s burning calories, pumping blood through the veins, staying in shape. 3.03 miles is not too bad, not too bad at all.
He’s not what you would call a “runner.” His body wasn’t built for speed. Come to think of it, he’s not exactly sure what his body was built for, he just knows it wasn’t for speed. But he jogs. Lightly. Just never been really good at it. Running is not his thing.
6:10 a.m. After a shower, he’s hungry. Cracks two eggs in a bowl, adds some milk, Frank’s Red Hot, Ancho Chili Pepper and some shredded cheese. Whisks it all together and pours it into the pre-heated pan on the stove. Scrambles the eggs and sits down in front of his laptop.
Not a chef by any means. He’s fully capable of grilled cheese, scrambled eggs, burgers on the grill. Could probably make his way through a recipe if he needed to. He has a great appreciation for the artistic side of preparing food, but he’s not nearly meticulous enough to do it well on a regular basis. Cooking is not his thing.
6:25 a.m. Eggs settling into the belly, he begins to type away on the keyboard of his computer. There are blogs to write, ideas and ideas of blogs to write, stirring within, itching to attach themselves to a computer screen. There are stories to tell, a novel that was started years ago, a short story that’s just recently been percolating in the front of his mind. He’s excited about all of it. He really enjoys the craft, loves to create things that inspire, compel, move. He’s great at inception. He can come up with ideas all day long. It’s the follow-through that is lacking so often. Blame it on the self-doubt, the busyness, the “resistance.” They all push back against him. Telling him, “writing is not your thing.” In his more confident moments he thinks, “well, we’ll just see about that.”
7:15 a.m. He walks into the master bedroom. She’s lying there in his bed, still asleep. She has a bed of her own. Yet she’s almost always there when he wakes up, although he’s never quite sure how and when she gets there. If he wasn’t such a heavy sleeper, if she wasn’t so stealth, so quiet and sneaky, he would wake up when she arrived and might tell her that she should go back to her own bed. But probably not. He likes it when she’s there, all snuggled up and warm. He knows those nights won’t last forever.
He sits down on the bed next to her. His wife comes into the room, ready for work. Together they begin the process of waking the sleeping child. It’s the first day of school. The start of 3rd grade. Time to get moving. She finally rolls out of bed, mornings are not her thing, either. With her brown hair all twisted and tangled, she wanders down the hall towards the bathroom in almost a drunk-person’s stroll. He watches her as she walks, the smile on his face growing into a little bit of a laugh. Everything she does is magical. Everything she does makes him laugh.
Once she’s ready for school, they sit down on the big chair together. She instructs him to find Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 in the list of recordings. They sit there, his arm wrapped around her, watching until it’s time to take her to school. They get into the car and make the short drive to the carpool line. While waiting, he turns around and snaps her picture with his phone. She’s smiling like she’s in love. Making their way to the drop-off point, he turns and tells her to have a good day and that he loves her. She says she loves him, too. As she gets out, he watches her walk away. The smile on his face continuing to grow.
8:00 am. Back home, he hears the shower going, the oldest is getting ready for school. He begins the process of making breakfast for his son. He puts some water on to boil, pops a couple of pre-made sausage biscuits in the microwave. It’s been three months or so since he’s prepared a bowl of instant grits. He has to concentrate a little more to pour the correct amount of boiling water. Perfect. Breakfast is ready and on the table, oldest sits down, finishes it all in about 16 seconds.
Back in the car, this time a little bit farther away. Ten minute drive to the school. Plenty of time to chat. They talk about sports, things they see along the way, guy stuff. They arrive, encountering the Amazon River-equivalent of carpool lines. He turns around and snaps a couple of pictures. Not so much as a smile as a smirk on the boy’s face. He’s confident. Ready. They finally make their way to the front of the line. He tells his son, “Time to go get ‘em! You’re the man, so be the man. I love you.” “Thanks, love you, too” is the sincere response. He watches as his son walks toward the door. All he can think is “Man, I love this kid!” The smile on his face has reached its pinnacle. It stays there the whole drive to work. It’s the smile that only a person who is living his life’s purpose can find.
He’s a Daddy. There are many things that he does, some because he has to, others because he wants to. But he was born to be a father. That’s his thing.
It’s who he is.