At 5:30 the lights turn on dimly and slowly brighten over the next three minutes. The cats parade over the two sleeping adults and Cathy kicks me. One of us turns off the lights with an iPhone. I sleep lightly until either six o’clock or until I cannot take the animals’ wake up call; whichever comes first.
I wander upstairs grabbing a robe on my way, the cats underfoot. I flick the children’s lights on. The dogs have caught up so I let them outside without really looking and hoping the neighbor’s dogs are not out or worse that there’s a skunk in the yard. I enter the kitchen because my muscles, not my memory, tell me that is what I am supposed to do. A cat jumps upon a near table, stands on hind legs placing the front two paws upon my shoulder then proceeds to purr and rub his face against my cheek. Right! Feed the cats. I grab the bowls and move to the closet with the food. One cat stands on the container to ensure I remember where we keep the food and when I lift the lid he peeks in giving a thorough inspection before stepping out of the way satisfied that the food supply has not vanished overnight. I fill the bowls; two go in the kitchen then one meowing cat leads me to his bedroom of choice where he gets locked in to eat in privacy (otherwise he won’t eat).
A groggy nine year old stumbles into the light. Scratching on the front door reminds me of the forgotten dogs. They enter and return to the basement for more sleep. I prepare the boy’s breakfast and the twelve year old rises. I tell them, “I’m going downstairs to get dressed.” They know “get dressed” means sleep for another half an hour.
The second awakening brings cursing and mutterings. The weekends are always too short. Grooming, dressing, last minute check writing, tooth brushing reminders and bemoaning, bus stop, carpool line, and work. Rinse. Repeat.