School starts this week for my last man-cub, Marcus. Not only is he the last one, but this is also his last year. He’s a senior and he’s just too excited about it. This week had me thinking of all those school mornings while raising three boys AKA “the knuckleheads”!
One of the familiar phrases that always seemed to make their eyes roll to the back of their heads was, “Are you ready for tomorrow?”
“Yes, I’m ready.”
Really? Ready means that the homework is not only done, but it’s packed in the backpack which is now sitting by the front door. School clothes are selected and ironed. Other items to wear – right down to the underwear, socks, shoes and belt – would also need to be laid out. Every parent has experienced that running around with your hair on fire moment in the morning. It always happens when you’re already running late and now your child can’t find his shoes, clean socks, a shirt or worse – underwear!
Wouldn’t it be nice if the only thing you needed to find in the morning is your way to the bathroom? Sure, it takes some discipline, but once you develop a habit of doing all your finding and thinking the night before, your mornings have an excellent chance of being less stressful. I say chance because anything can and does happen. Of course, we’re just minimizing opportunities to start the day out in the middle of a tornado. In fact, you may be able to get an extra 10 to 15 minutes of sleep. The best sleep in the world is the extra 15 minutes that you’re able to steal just before getting out of bed. I also found that once I practiced being prepared, I was more relaxed in the mornings which put me in a more productive mood. Even today, morning is my favorite time for creative thinking and writing.
That morning routine saved me, and trust me, I needed saving. I was working in radio and I was a part of the morning show. That meant that I needed to be in the studio – live on the air – laughing and joking around at 5:30. That was a tall order for someone who LOVED to sleep. One morning I got a call. It was the weekend and after working two jobs, I was in sleep heaven. It was about 7 a.m. when I answered the phone from the pit of REM and it was my friends and co-workers Boomer and Frank. We had a casual conversation and before long we were all chuckling and then I started to wonder, Why are they calling me on a Saturday morning? That’s because it’s Wednesday Greg!! What?! I was already an hour and a half late when they called and we were talking on the air!
With my heart in my throat, I hit the ground running. After quickly cleaning up, it was a blur getting to work. While we laughed about my comedy routine all morning on the radio, it made an impression on me. From that point on, I became Mr. Preparation, Captain On-Time! I can’t say that I was never late again, but it was rare. I’m a get there early and prepared for anything man – that’s just who I am. Okay… not really. I’m legendary for losing my keys. I’ve also driven an hour out of town only to learn that the glasses that I suddenly remembered that I left at home were actually resting on the top of my head. And don’t ask me about the time that I tore up the car looking for my phone only to find it in my pocket (when somebody called me). According to my sons, the only person that rivaled their hair on fire moments were my own, which is apparently one of the reasons I no longer have any hair!
Here are some photos of my last man from baby to “the man”.