I Think I Love You

It wasn’t any easier to get up this morning than any other morning, but something stopped me from hitting snooze for the second time. It might have been the thought of my freshly turned sixteen year old daughter Luca sitting on her bedroom floor putting her make-up on. I knew she was anticipating her birthday breakfast of puffy pancake drenched in melted butter, powdered sugar, and fresh fruit and it wasn’t going to make itself. Or it might have been the realization that with Brett out of town all the responsibility of getting kids up, bellies fed, lunches made, and bodies delivered to three schools rested on my shoulders. My shoulders are lucky to have the shoulders of a work at home husband that typically carry much more of the morning responsibilities.

Twenty minutes later, I sit at the kitchen table and just observe for the next few minutes. Usually in the mornings my mind is foggy, my body feels weak, and my mood is salty, as my kids like to say. This morning I feel more alert, despite only four restless hours of sleep, and I feel more present and aware than I typically do at this hour.

Luca walks in first and starts her careful preparation of her lunch. Heated quinoa wild rice topped with diced chicken and black beans, which she then wraps in two layers of tinfoil to preserve some heat. She then cuts up strawberries and washes blueberries and layers it in a container that she will later pour over her honey flavored Noosa yogurt. When she realizes we are out of granola she quickly calls her best friend and asks her to take some to school for her. Everything about her process was smooth, calm, purposeful, and left plenty of time to spare for any surprise road blocks to her routine.

If I didn’t know fourteen year old Lincoln so well, I would have been worried that he had slept through his alarm, but, he never does that. I just realize that my boy is quietly going about his own morning routine of getting ready. He eventually walks into the kitchen and starts to load up his lunch box with the items I have laid out for him. He isn’t smiling, or scowling, or complaining or demanding. He is just calm and that calm slowly sweeps across the room and seeps into me, as he is always so generous in sharing his calm.

Four year old Taran stumbles into the dining room with an iPad dangling precariously under one arm and his tired eyes half closed. He shuffles to the dining room table and climbs into a chair and lays his head down on the table. He and I had a long restless night as we typically don’t share a bed, but with dad gone, he insisted on sleeping by me. His legs and arms tossed and turned and sought me out until 3am when I finally picked him up to carry him to his own bed. His eyes popped open as soon as I stood and when I explained to him the issues he promised to lay down and be still and sleep. He kept his promise and didn’t move from his spot for the next four and a half hours until he found his new resting spot at the kitchen table.

“ARGH!!! I hate my freaking life!!!” a voice growls as a groggy and wrinkled version of twelve year old Anna lumbers into the kitchen. She was at dress rehearsal for a school play until nearly 9pm last night and the excitement of it all kept her spinning and singing and cracking jokes until nearly midnight. She is tired. She grabs her backpack and starts pulling out dirty clothes, yesterday’s lunch, and containers of dried out slime in search of something she doesn’t find.

I glance into the dark corner of the dining room and notice Taran has found some purpose and is dancing and quietly singing, “Whip, whip, watch me nae nae.” His eyes are still half closed and full of sleepiness.

I turn and see Anna’s face light up with a grin as she joins Taran with a much more animated version of the dance. In a matter of two minutes she has gone from freaking hating her life to freaking loving it.

The puffy pancake finishes with only minutes to spare before the bus driver (me) pulls away in the school bus (mini van) so I leave them to dish up while I holler down the stairs to see if nine year old Kai is awake. He is the only elementary school kid in the house right now so he soaks up his extra 30 minutes of sleep each morning.

“Kai!” I yell down into the dark basement. “Do you want some puffy pancake?”

I forgot he slept on the blow up bed in the family room so his tired voice answers from closer than I expect.

“No, I’m good. I am just going to sleep until my alarm goes off in two minutes.”

Okay then.

I grab my keys and herd the older kids and Taran to the car, knowing full well that Kai will get up the second his alarm goes off and be showered, fed, have his lunch packed, and be waiting impatiently for me to comb his hair in twenty minutes when I return. School starts at 9 and it takes him no more than three minutes to ride his scooter there, but he feels late if he isn’t out the door at 8:30. Those who know me well question that he is really mine.

The drive to school with the kids is pleasant. They are silly and upbeat and make me laugh. Yesterday’s morning drop off involved sarcasm and arguing from them and scolding from me, but today was a big scoop of agreeable.

I drive home with the warm sun shining through my window and the beautiful backdrop of the red mountains and beyond that the distant blue mountains still topped with snow. I flip on Taran’s playlist and it goes straight to his new favorite (as of last night when he first heard it), “I Think I Love You” by David Cassidy. I sing along and he attempts to sing along (new song) and dances as well as he can in the confines of his five point harness carseat.

“I think I love you isn’t that what life is made of

Though it worries me to say I never felt this way

Believe me you really don’t have to worry

I only wanna make you happy and if you say “hey go away” I will

But I think better still I’d better stay around and love you

Do you think I have a case let me ask you to your face

Do you think you love me?

I think I love you

I think I love you

I think I love you

I think I love you

I think I love you

I think I love you

I think I love you

I think I love you”