Something landed on my gut before dawn. It didn’t bite so I ignored it. Suddenly the thing on my belly started shrieking morning cheer amidst static and squelch noise. Uggh. The walkie-talkies. Cheap versions of real technological wonders.
“MOMMY! Talk to me … over.”
Then I hear the giggling. Hmm. I squint as hard as I can at the clock sitting on a nightstand. If I scrunch up my face just … so … I can get the fuzzy letters to come into view for a second. Sigh. It’s 5:56 a.m. I need to haul my carcass out of bed. They beat me. Again.
“HEY MOMMY ARE YOU THERE? Talk to me please. Over.”
A sigh escapes my lips. It’s deep and guttural and makes my throbbing head explode into thousands of tiny white lights. I know this symptom well, so I begin a recap of the previous day. Aaah. Yes. I vowed to stop drinking coffee throughout the day. I had one cup in the early hours and water all day long. Withdrawal symptoms. Easily fixed.
“Breaker, breaker one nine. This is Mommy. I need to place an order at the Early Risers Cafe! Over.”
Giggling can be heard from a bedroom.
“What’ll you have, Mommy?” says the voice of oldest child.
“I need an extra-large coffee, please.”
“TALK TO ME, over?” I realize with a twinge of exasperation that I sound just like my son. Except no one answers me and my rising manic dependence on morning coffee has me screeching like the squelch button.
“Someone please, perty please with sugar on top get me some coffee.”
I dig in for a last-ditch effort. “If someone brings me coffee I’ll make you all toad in a commode for breakfast.” I realize I am bribing my children to wait on me but I pre-programmed the coffee pot for heaven sakes so chances are it’s ready and all they have to do is pour it in a cup!
Suddenly, an angel appears with my favorite coffee mug. It’s steaming with tongue-burning goodness, lightened to a molasses color by a squirt of French vanilla creamer.
The waitress disappears as my sincere “Thaaaaank you” flutters mid-air.
The static hums on my walkie talkie. “Hey there little Mommy,” says the king of the airwaves. “Remember you said we could have donuts for breakfast.”
I’m not the only one making deals this morning.
“Breaker breaker that’s right. You may each have an apple cider donut with your milk.”
I’m up. I make my way down the stairs. I enter the kitchen in time to see the last bite of donut stuffed between cinnamon-sugar smeared lips. A girl child shoves a donut into my hand that’s not holding a coffee cup and walkie talkie.
“You’re like a policeman,” middle child says through a mouthful … “coffee and donuts!”
“And you even have a walkie talkie!” oldest daughter giggles.
And then Farmboy jumps from the stool and disappears. He returns momentarily, shoving his cap gun in my hand. “There. Perfect!”
And they all burst into giggles.
I scrunch up my face, squint really hard and try to make out the blurry green numbers on the oven clock. It’s 6:06 a.m.
I’m surrounded by criminals.