Saturday, April 24, 2010

The 5:07 wake-up call

I don't know about you, but I'm not a morning person. Unless we're at a theme park, I'd just as soon sleep a little bit longer every morning. One of the perks about working at home is that there is no true 9 to 5 time period for work.

That said, for the past six years, a little birdie has been waking me up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at just past 5 a.m. Her name? Kate. 

When she was 13, Kate started having morning swim three times a week. So every M-W-F, I'd stagger out of bed, throw on some shoes and drive Kate to the pool. Then come home, sleep for an hour, get up with the alarm and return to the pool for the pick-up. 

Before she could drive, this also meant early morning summer practices at the Mt. Hood Community College pool in Troutdale. For two summers, that meant getting up at 4:45 a.m. and driving the 30 minutes to the pool. Once Kate was in the building, I'd park the van, flatten the seats in back and take a nap. Pillows and a blanket became part of the must-have gear in the van. I'd set my alarm for 7:15 ... wake up ... drive back to the front of the pool and wait for Kate. Then we drove back home, hitting a burst of rush-hour once we hit I-205. Good times.

Nowadays, Kate drives herself to morning practice. And on mornings when Lisa is here, she graciously not only gets up with Kate, but makes her waffles, too. But since our driveway is way off to one side of the house and since Kate is still a tad afraid of the dark, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when it's just me at home, I hear a quiet little "Dad, can you walk me out" sometime around 5:07. And while I'll admit that at some point, that was like nails on a chalkboard, these days I pop out of bed without a word and stumble outside in the dark with her. My baby will be going off to college in the fall, and my days of the 5:07 wake-up call are coming to an end. Who thought I'd miss that.

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