I love mornings. If I suddenly found myself in an alternate universe where people were assigned times of the day, rather than jobs (á la " Hunger Games"), there is no question what time I would want to be assigned. 5am-9am would be my place. I would happily give up the afternoon when the day is at its peak, full of frantic activity, noise and commotion. The evening hours when things are winding down, commuters are rushing to get home, unfinished chores demanding to be finished are not even in the running as contenders. The nighttime when it's dark is my least favorite time of the day so that is a no-brainer. I haven't always felt this way about the mornings. I got into the habit of arising early when my girls were little to be awake before they were. It was self defense, really.
I needed time to think, dream, pray, and write or just let my mind wander and be me without interruption and the intrusion of the demands of young motherhood. I needed to get centered and figure out the day so that I could be one step ahead of the three feisty, energetic, demanding little angels (born about 2 years apart, give or take) when they woke up. It was the only time that was just for me. I loved it so much that I started getting up earlier and earlier to make this time last longer. Arising at 4:30am if I woke up, I felt a little thrill that I had somehow beaten the system and had stolen a few extra hours out of the day. This was great! Until I started falling asleep at 7:30pm while reading bedtime stories to them... "Once upon a time, there were three bears who lived in an adorable Cotswold- style cottage in the woods surrounded by a boxwood hedge. One morning they decided to go for a walk while their porridge cooled and a little girl named Goldilocks went to school in a lima bean...." "Mommy!!! What did you say???" "Huh.. Oh nothing, I just slipped off into a dream for a second. Sorry."
This proved to be good training for my profession as a designer. Instead of the three little angels demanding my attention first thing in the morning, I have the painter, the contractor and an amazing early rising assistant and project manager. If I don't have the marching orders set before 7:45am, my day will be out of control and will feel like a day spent trying to corral a bunch of stray cats. One morning, by some miracle, I slept until 8am which was lovely but what wasn't so lovely was that I awoke to the sound of knocking on the door with my painter on the other side looking for the key to the latest project so he could get started!
For a morning to be perfect, a few things are required, in addition to getting up early:
1. A clean and orderly house. No leaving the dirty dinner dishes in the sink or the sofa pillows un-fluffed and the throw a wrinkled puddle at the foot of the sofa before retiring. Nothing wrecks the beauty of the dawn like walking smack into the wall of the reality of last night's unfinished business.
2. A great cup of hot steamy coffee in a pretty mug or cup. I go on and off caffeine but decaf or regular, I love to begin the day with the ritual of coffee. My current preference is Kona, light roast coffee with two shakes of cinnamon and a splash of soy milk. Yesterday morning, I used a proper cup and saucer, the Princeton pattern by Royal Dalton, and it made me feel very Downton Abbey.
3. A comfortable upholstered chair with a good lamp and a side table to hold my coffee cup, journal, sketch book etc... so everything is within reach and the spell needn't be broken to go fetch something when an idea strikes.
4. A sleeping dog and a sleeping husband in the next room and sleeping daughters home on Winter break upstairs.
Ahhh, now, what if I painted those kitchen cabinets in R's villa in a high gloss black? Or maybe Chelsea Gray? Or what if I just did the base cabs and ripped out the uppers on the sink wall and installed subway tile to the ceiling with floating shelves of weathered cypress?...