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Summer Good. Mornings Hard.

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I like summer. I despise morning alarm clocks.

In other news, preschool starts in two weeks and it will start at 8:15am. IN THE ACTUAL MORNING.

So, amid my end of summer blues and the edge of anxiety over exciting new things to come, I must now decide if easing into a morning routine needs to start now, or if that’s just wasting the last bit of summer with unnecessary requirements. Side Note: if you Google questions like this, you will get a lot of other parents giving their opinions- sometimes with a hefty dose of all-knowing judgement. I’m pretty sure those are the women we call Karen. I don’t need that kind of bossy judgement messing with our last days of summer. You do you, Karen. I’ll do me.

I believe in being prepared and practical, but I have strong feelings about wasting today for tomorrow. Living in the moment versus preparing for the future. Enjoying the last days of summer versus getting ready for school year routines. When I get stuck in my own head, I start to believe that I must do one or the other. The truth is, when I back up enough to see the big picture, I can enjoy today AND get ready for what’s ahead.

T-minus 15 days until preschool. Pass the coffee. Let’s do this.

In preparation for being a functioning human in public before 10am, I’ve scheduled appointments for a few mornings. Today’s task. Get the old, slightly anxious, very chubby dog to the vet for his yearly checkup by 9am.

The alarm went off and I got myself up, dressed, and caffeinated. I pinned back my unruly curls and decided make-up is only for morning people. I only slightly scowled at my cheerful and chatty husband when he bombarded me with words like, “Good Morning.”

I checked the monitor and found the kid still in the depths of sleep. I entered with caution and used the gentlest wake up voice I could muster. She growled, asked an undecipherable question that I’m pretty sure amounted to, “What is happening?” At her request, I crawled into her twin sized bed and we snuggled under the quilt until the very last minute, then I got her dressed. I said no bad words as I scoured the house for her shoes and then found them on the bathroom floor where we left them yesterday. (How annoying is it when your stuff is where you actually left it instead of where you meant to leave it?) I loaded the kid in her car seat as she wielded an aluminum foil spear that she crafted in children’s church after learning about King Saul and David. Then we talked, AGAIN, about how starting a conversation with “I have a weapon” is probably not the best idea.

Mustering all the strength left, I went back inside for the nervous dog. Everyone loaded. Truck moving. We are doing this.

So. Much. Kid. Talking. And. Dog. Whining. In. The. Truck.

We arrived at the vet 5 minutes early. Instead of being met with an award for excellent adulting, I was greeted by a very serious German Shepard that was not in the mood for company. That dog lunged and barked. My old dog took one step back while muttering the dog version of, “What the hell, man?” The kid was there somewhere, but thankfully not in the middle. A quick acting front desk woman whisked us into a patient room and shut the door behind us. I was so focused on my overweight, anxious, old dog that I was a bit surprised when my kid said, “Um, Mom, I’m kind of hungry.”

Oops. In all my adulting success, I forgot to feed the tiny human.

Me: I have a granola bar in my purse. It’s sort of smushed, but do you want it?

Kid: I want it, I got it. I want it, I got it. Here, will you hold my spear?


The big dog was brave and I’m banking on his example being enough to help the kiddo be brave at her regular check up later this week. My bank account is counting on the pediatrician not costing as much as the veterinarian, because this adult can barely afford to maintain a young child and two old dogs in the same month. The next morning routine practice run will involve an earlier alarm, a bit more black coffee, a smidge of mascara on my tired eyes, and breakfast. In 15 days, we will be ready for preschool, but today? Today we summer.

Follow Happy Like This by Mandy McCarty Harris for more stories on life and parenting.

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