I have been waking up before 5 AM consistently for 11 years. It started with necessity, nursing my child before work, but it continued for several reasons.
When my firstborn was an infant, my stepson was eight. This meant I had to be stealthfully quiet as I woke the baby, fed him, spent some time with him, and then passed him to his daddy while I showered and dressed for work. It was a time before AirPods, and before I had discovered podcasts or Audible. Facebook was barely a thing. And phones in general were just not attached to everyone’s hands like they are today.
It was in these near silent moments without technology, with only a cuddly warm baby in my lap, that I discovered the true meaning of quiet contentment. Just me, rocking my baby boy guided only by the white noise sound machine and gentle soft lighting.
I wasn’t scrolling. I wasn’t comparing. I wasn’t wishing, nor was I regretting. There was no self-loathing. My job had not even adopted an electronic medical record yet, so working from home was not possible. I wasn’t paying bills from a little icon on my phone. I didn’t have 400 emails in my inbox, or at least I didn’t know that I had them.
Just two humans bound by DNA and love and touch and time.
Fast forward to 2021 and that baby is in sixth grade. My stepson has left the nest and is thriving, and my youngest son is in fourth grade. My alarm still goes off at 4:30 AM, but I am alone. Yes, the house is still quiet like it was back then. The lights are still low. But things have changed.
There is a technological miracle that fits in the palm of my hand now. It is full of red dots that quicken my pulse. There is a slick, silver, almost paper-thin computer that is full of lab results and refill requests and exam notes to finish. Now I know that I have 400 emails in my inbox. There are all these little icons in my hand that tell me I’m not good enough when I open them. There are ads everywhere that seem to call my digital wallet’s name.
What happened to those early morning quiet moments?
My eyes fill with tears as I type this. Yes, most mornings I participate in healthy self care such as prayer, Journaling, or mindfulness... but let’s be honest.
If I choose to pick up this Fair-weather friend that follows me everywhere, I disappear. Those quiet peaceful moments disappear. I am not touching anyone. I am not gazing at someone I love and enjoying that feeling of togetherness and connection. This quiet house? Well it’s telling me it needs to be dusted and decorated. Those sleeping children? They need agendas signed and class party treats sent in and uniforms washed and clarinet reeds ordered.
My husband may or may not be at work, but if he is did I reach out to him? And if he’s home, did I reach out to him?
Oh wait- there goes my timer. Time to hop in the shower, put the bacon in the oven, get those boys up and moving. There goes my heart rate rising with each deadline and inbox item that crosses my mind. Oh, yes, I’m productive. I’m organized. Just ask all my friends and family. But is that the legacy I want to leave? ‘
She is so efficient. She can get it all done.
Tears in my eyes again, geez. I would rather be known as Amy that helped me. Amy that loved me. Amy that made me feel important. Amy that I could count on. But most of all, Amy that I knew inside and out- between the lines and in the trenches.
You see, getting it all done can be quite lonely. Have I been so busy getting it all done that I forgot to connect? Constantly looking at this lit up master that fits in my hand honestly makes me feel like crap. Yes- there are laughs and good reads hopefully like this one. There’s my longtime friend’s child or grandchild. The books and music and podcasts usually add instead of subtract.
But all those red dots? I hate them. They steal little tiny pieces of me and I can’t really explain it. My children won’t know a world without the red dots, and that makes me sad.
So here I am, on a rainy Wednesday morning, now voice-texting into this devilish device to create this message. I think it is a message for myself more than anything. Gosh these stupid tears. What is going on?
I need to rewind. I need to go back. Back to the quiet simple peaceful mornings.
I need to let go.
I need to reach out even more than I need to let go.
Who is with me?
A fantastic human I call my friend gifted me with this poem this week.
She didn't write it, but she knew I needed it. And now, I gift it to you. ☀️