I don’t know if I’d call myself a morning person, but my son, Milo, doesn’t seem to care how I classify myself; so long as I’m ready to party right around 6:15 am, maybe 6:30 am, every day, that’s good enough for him.
Milo just turned 2 this week (June 12th, which is the day before my wedding anniversary), and for the last year-plus it’s been this way: mornings are our time together. As soon as I hear him start whimpering or crying on the baby monitor, I’ll go into his room, shut off the sound machine, bring him back into our room, lay him on the bed with my wife, and then I start getting ready for the day. The extent to which I “get ready” depends on whether it’s a work day or not. Work day? Brush teeth, shower, get dressed and presentable; even though I work remotely, I still like showering and putting on normal clothes at the start of my day. Not a work day? Brush teeth, pajamas are fine.
Other than those minor variables, the routine is consistent and commences at approximately the same time each day. I can almost hear Milo ask, “What’s a weekend, Dad?” The routine knows no days off, no vacation time. Once I’m ready, it’s back to Milo’s room to change his diaper and his clothes; like his dad, if it’s a weekend, the wardrobe change is completely optional. Usually while I’m changing him on his changing pad, he puts up a fuss of some sort and starts to wriggle around or cry. While I’m not totally sure why, I chalk it up to it taking him a few minutes to wake up and be civil. Me, too, buddy. Me, too.
By the time we’re headed downstairs, though, all is right in his world. Carrying him, I walk through the living room, the dining room, and kitchen to open all the curtains and let the light in. As we pass by the coffee table in the living room, Milo takes note of the collection of his toys (99% cars and trucks) he left there yesterday. “Cars! Cars! Cars!” he says, excitement filling his voice. He squirms in my grasp, indicating he wants to be put down, so I set him on the floor and head into the kitchen where I start making coffee. As I’m preparing all the necessary materials, Milo is briskly walking back and forth between the living room and the kitchen, bringing with him as many of his cars as his little toddler arms can manage at one time. He sets the cars and trucks on our kitchen table and heads back to the living room for more. I’m at least halfway done making my coffee (with my AeroPress, it’s somewhat of a process) by the time he’s assembled a sufficient “fleet” on our kitchen table and hops up into one of the adult-sized chairs.
This is how each day begins. I sip coffee at our little cozy little two-seater of a table, and Milo sits opposite me, staring intently at his cars while he slowly rolls them across the tabletop with one hand. He positions his face so that it’s level with the cars, and he scrutinizes each movement as he plays. I always wonder what he’s thinking. Is he imagining occupants inside these vehicles? Is he in the driver’s seat? Either way, he is completely engrossed in his task. I have no idea where he gets this interest from. My job revolves around cars, and I’m sure I’ll never love them half as much as my son does.
My passions (aside from coffee) are centered much more music, both as a listener and a performer; ever since I started playing bass guitar in 7th grade, I’ve played in bands. I’m fortunate that Milo is gracious enough to let music be a part of our morning routine from time to time. Sometimes he’s playing with his trucks — he always picks up at least one and says, “Truck,” or he’ll identify the color and say, “Boooooo” (“blue” is a favorite of his) — while together we listen to Side 2 of Black Flag’s My War album. He might even bob his head a little bit, giving his dear ol’ dad hope his son might be a headbanger yet. Other times, I might be sitting at the kitchen table with a guitar or bass, listening and playing along to songs on my phone, when Milo decides to set his cars and trucks aside for a moment and instead dance all around the kitchen. He loves a good hip-hop beat. I also recently discovered he has a love of country music, much to the chagrin of my wife.
Some days, Milo is content to simply hang out in our living room, near our record player. He’ll stand on our couch that backs up to the window and look out at the few cars that pass our house during this sleepy time of day — he loves it when he sees a “bussss” go by. All the while, he humors me while I listen to any number of records I know my wife wouldn’t want to listen to if she were in the room. Milo doesn’t seem to mind. Maybe he knows that this is our time, too. Our time to immerse ourselves in the things we love.
Although the whole routine plays out at a time much earlier than I’d choose, I have to agree with Milo that this is a pretty perfect way to start the day. Tired as I may be, our mornings hold a special place in my heart. I hope we get to do this long enough that Milo can have fond memories of our mornings together when he’s at an age where he can truly appreciate that sort of thing. I know I’ll miss these mornings when they’re gone, even if I am finally able to enjoy a little extra sleep.