I am not a morning person. I am also not a night owl. I’m the kind of person who likes to be in bed early and to sleep in a bit as well. But kids and work seem to get in the way of those desires an awful lot. Late nights are common because of practices, games, conferences and interviews, and early mornings are essential because of school and work schedules.
In my ever-increasing desire to be healthy, my early mornings have become even earlier these days. This is due in part to it being too dark when I get home from work to take a run, and in part to not being home most evenings anyway. So, six days a week, my alarm rings at 5:15 a.m. so I can get on the treadmill before I have to wake the kids for school. I can run a little more than 2 miles right now.
On good days, I crank up some music and have my run completed by 5:45 a.m. Although, if I’m being honest, I think that has only happened twice. Most days, I convince myself to log in to my email before my music and spend a few minutes trolling the Internet before beginning. A few minutes turns into 15, and then I’m pushing 6 a.m. or after before I’ve finished running. That means it becomes a rush to get the kids ready for school on time. And then I have to rush to get to work. It’s a process we’re working through.
The other morning, I was having one of the good days. I woke up, walked into my office, set up the treadmill and prepared my music. I decided to grab a bottle of water before beginning. Trying not to wake anyone, I tiptoed in the dark past the bedroom doors. I silently and stealthily took each step, praying the dog wouldn’t wake up and decide she needed let out.
I was nearly to the bottom – and home free – when it happened. I stepped on something on the stairs and failed to recover. I imagine myself looking quite like a cartoon character who has stepped on a roller skate and flies up into the air before landing on their bottom. Only it wasn’t a roller skate I stepped on. It was a computer mouse, attached to my daughter’s laptop.
Thankfully, it was only three steps from the bottom, so I only hit those on my way down. The noise I created while falling caused my husband to fly out of bed and the dog to start barking. My left foot was quite tender, and my right forearm was lumped and bruised in mere seconds.
It took a few moments to disentangle myself from the battery pack and cords, but I finally got up and realized nothing was broken. Even the laptop survived the accident. The dog settled back down, and my husband went back to bed. I completed my run.
And those children whose sleep I tiptoed through the dark to protect? Whose belongings I tripped over? Those children never even stirred.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.