Our middle (or “medium”, according to her) child crawled into bed with us this morning at that perfect (NOT perfect) time where my eyes snap open, my brain switches on, and I immediately know that I won’t be returning back to sleep.
Sometimes this happens at 6:30 a.m.
Sometimes it happens at 4:30 a.m.
Today it happened at 5:45 a.m.
On the button.
But it was strange…
Usually this manner of being awakened leaves me a little grouchy and feeling robbed. Today, however, my heart seemed to know ahead of time that I was being given a gift, even though I was still too groggy to fully claim it.
I stumbled into the office, perused Facebook, shuffled around the house a bit, laid on the couch and tried to sleep, but the entire time, the front porch was just calling my name.
“I can’t come outside, Front Porch!” I said. “It will wake up the children and Mr. Gore.”
“Oh, come on…” said Front Porch. “It’s actually chilly out here. In JULY. When has that ever happened before?…”
“I know that, dummy. I want to come out there, but if I open the door, the alarm will beep and this entire house will clamor to life, asking for breakfast and handing me wet diapers. I’d rather sit quietly in the dark than risk it.” I hissed in reply.
“You’ll regret it…” Front Porch taunted me.
“Gaw-LEE, you’re pushy!” I said, rising from the couch. “But yeah. Let’s do this!”
With determination and excitement in my tread, I tiptoed to the master bedroom, retrieved my contacts, the phone and my trusty cardigan, and verrrrrrry quietly shut the door, leaving my husband and eldest children to their slumber.
Now was the tricky part.
It was already growing light outside. If she woke up now, she wouldn’t even think of falling back asleep, even though it was much too early for Betsies to be awake.
I looked at the long stairway separating me from my baby girl and the open nursery door that could foil my rendezvouz with Front Porch and my Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (original blend). If I could hear the upstairs sound machine from where I was standing, Betsie would certainly hear me making my coffee and going outside.
“Please, God…” I breathed, and crouching down on all fours, me and my bulbous womb baby prowled up the stairs like a sneaky jungle cat. (Little known fact: Small Elephants are known to transform into lithe and nimble felines when it comes to caffeinated morning rituals. True story).
And by jing, we did it! The nursery door slid into place with the tiniest ‘click!’ and down the stairs I floated to do some percolating.
“Quick, Percolator!” I said, antsy. “We have to hurry before they wake up!!”
Percolator obeyed, and in a snap, I was doctoring up my first cup of coffee, retrieving a bakery cinnamon roll from the pantry, turning off the security alarm, and opening the front door.
“Welcome…” Front Porch enticingly whispered. “You did well, Padawan.”
An incredibly unseasonable chill atmosphere smacked me in the face. “You’ve got to be kidding me, July!” I squeaked. It felt like one of those early Spring days that is rife with deliciousness and will inspire you to write a sonnet rather than the typical misery that is an Oklahoma summer. I couldn’t believe it.
And I can’t believe I almost missed it, opting to stay in the dark and shut-up living room sans coffee. I’m glad my Front Porch persisted.
There in my Cracker Barrel rocking chair, I slowly enjoyed my breakfast, surrounded by birdsong, dew and the early morning activities of my small community. And eventually, my heart led me to my Maker.
“So beautiful, God…” I prayed.
I began to muse over my life and how I wanted to spend my day. “Please help me today,” I asked. “Show me how to live for my family.”
For sadly, I am getting to that very weary stage of this pregnancy, where I start getting annoyed by my own breathing and grow increasingly frustrated by the extended dry spell of my usually happy and optimistic soul; my patience has been threadbare, and it takes more self control than I sometimes have to savor those little moments that are usually like life and breath to me.
“I don’t want to cast the kids aside today…” I prayed. “I want to enjoy them…show them how much they mean to me…love them with the selfless love of Christ.”
My prayers became quiet meditations and wordless pleas, and as my first cup of coffee slowly dwindled to a close, I tiptoed quietly inside for a refill.
And that’s when I heard her.
That’s still a little early for Betsie to be awake.
And with two shut doors between them, no one else would hear her crying…
“Maybe she’ll fall back asleep if I let her alone…” I thought.
I rinsed the leftover grounds out of my cup.
And then I felt an unmistakable nudge as I heard her cry “Mamaaaa!”
I don’t know if you know this, but it is an abominable sin to obey your Front Porch and then immediately ignore the Holy Spirit. I set my cup down, and up the stairs I went, this time on twos instead of fours.
She was still crying, sitting up with her little skinny legs and arms hanging through the rails of her crib, reaching for her pacifier that lay very far down on the ground.
I picked it up and handed it to her. “Do you want to lay back down and go night-night?” I asked.
“No.” she resolutely answered.
“You want to go outside with Mama?” I asked.
“Uh-huh!” she said.
“Do you want some fawshee?” I asked, leaning in to whisper conspiratorily to her.
“Uh-HUH!!!!” she exclaimed.
Anyone who knows Baby Betsie knows that she has a major thing for coffee. She calls it “fawshee” and she is seriously looney over the stuff.
She likes fawshee with milk and sugar, she likes it black, she likes it hot, she likes it cold. She likes to drink it at her little table on her little tray all by herself, and she loves to drink it with her Grandmother. And if the coffee is all gone, she asks to “smell it”. Taking a big whiff of our empty cups, she says “Mmmmm!!!”
So early in this day, while the rest of our household slept on, God answered my front porch prayer over morning fawshee with Betsie…
I loved her. I enjoyed her. I talked to her about God. I rocked her and sang to her. I lived for her, and in doing so, I once again touched base with my very favorite thing in the world: life and life abundant.