An alarm goes off. One of my kids is ambitious this morning.
There’s construction on the road somewhere nearby; amid the sounds of early-morning commuters I can hear trucks, or it is a motorcycle? It’s out of place; we usually don’t hear engines rumbling in the fall, and certainly not early in the morning. Joyriders save their extreme riding for the middle of hot summer nights. I know this, as I have woken up enough times listening to speed demons race up and down the road behind our house, praying that the sound continues and fades away instead of stopping short.
The alarm goes off again. The snooze button – what’s the point? I'd rather just set my alarm ten minutes later. If I get awake I'm up. I guess people learn this. Or not. If people didn’t use the snooze it wouldn’t exist.
The cat chirps behind me, walks toward my chair and wraps himself around my legs. His contented/devious purr sounds like a little motor. I look at him and he stops, gives a high-pitched “Meow?” and then walks over to a houseplant. A male cat should have a more masculine voice. He puts his paws up on the pot, sniffs at the leaves. “Get down,” I warn him. This is our morning dance, my husband says. The cat glares at me and walks away.
Another alarm buzzes in a different part of the house and then clicks off. It elicits no other movement from its owner. I’m surrounded by snoozers.
The sounds of the traffic on the road rise until they blend into one road noise that my ears have been conditioned to ignore after fifteen years of living here. If I lived here for thirty more years and one day needed hearing aids I’d have to get used to the sound all over again. The thought of that is daunting; I’d probably want to move away. No wonder my grandmother hated wearing her new hearing aids at 92.
By 6:15 one of my children is sitting next to me at the table eating breakfast. A few surly comments tossed here and there remind me that tender minds take time to become fully awake. We say little more to each other. I listen to the sounds of a bowl of cereal being consumed, a mediocre representative of the most important meal of the day. I sip my coffee. This child escapes upstairs to get ready for school.
A few minutes later, I still haven’t heard a sound from the other child. I walk over to the stairs and call up the stairs, “Are you awake?” “YEAH,” comes the delayed response. I have woken up this second child. Waking up sleeping people has become my least favorite thing to do since becoming a parent.
The time before school melts away and the regular sounds of preparation have filled in the quiet that I have stolen for myself for years. I used to wish the quiet lasted longer; I don’t have enough time in it to accomplish much. But grasping at time is foolish, and I never made it count for much more than what was already happening anyway.
The noises swirl around me. I am content to hear them create this new day.
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