Morning Personalities

Mornings. Some people handle them with grace and style while other people fumble through them with their eyes half closed. My granny has a sign hanging in her living room that reads, "Sometimes I wake up grumpy, and sometimes I just let him sleep." This sign does not convey the reality of mornings in my home. My husband and I would have to locate a sign where the him is replaced with her. Mornings at our house go one of two ways, neither of which is mine.

My husband rolls out of our cozy bed whistling "Zippity-Doo-Da" every day of the week. Enthusiasm beams from his face immediately after our alarm clock goes "beep, beep, beep." There is little that I enjoy less than being dragged kicking and screamin g from my cozy slumber by a loud beep. I hide under my thick covers, struggling to block out the noise and the early morning light. He always bounces around to my side of the bed and informs me in a melodious tone, "Honey, it's time to get up."

My only reply is a barely audible groan and plea for more sleep. On the days he works and I do not, I am generally given a reprieve from the horrors of the early morning. "Go back to sleep darling," he soothes.

I happily return to the warmth of my slumber as he starts his day. Within forty-five minutes, he is showered, shaved, and ready to tackle the world. He gets dressed without a moment of indecision. The hospital requires uniforms, blue scrubs that req uire no ironing and have the added benefit of being comfortable. This uniform is completed with a white tee shirts, white socks, and a pair of all-white tennis shoes. He eats breakfast, a choice of Pop Tarts or two different kinds of cereal with whole m ilk. Some mornings he has to hunt for his misplaced keys or wallet before he is ready to leave for work. His voice always yanks me from dream land, "Honey, I'm fixing to go to work."

I know that a reply of loving warmth and affection is expected so I usually manage to mumble, "O.K., honey. Be careful. I love you."

Some mornings I have the great fortune of being allowed to leave things at that, but most mornings he returns my endearments and expects our verbal dance to continue at least three more steps. Finally I will hear him say," Sweet dreams, honey. I'll s ee you this evening."

This reply is followed by the welcome thud of the dead bolt locking. I relax once I hear his part-hungry, blue truck crank and pull away. One out of two mornings, I even manage to go back to sleep. When I finally do rise, I take a nice, warm, peacefu l shower and prepare for the coming slaughter of the day.

* * *

When we both have to work, morning scenario number two begins just after "Honey, it's time to get up," is spoken. I still groan and plea for more sleep, but my husband's response is less pleasant. "Melissa, you have to get up now. Come on, honey," he utters.

He sounds just like my mother did on her second round of pleading with me to get up when I lived with my parents. Even though I realize he is right, I still groan, "But, honey. . ."

He always yanks the covers off me as I mumble, "O.K., honey. If I have to," and stumble out of bed with my eyes still closed.

He knows not to get in my way as I feel my way towards our bathroom. If he does make the mistake of stopping me he receives his first "look that could kill" of the morning as I proceed to the bathroom and slam the door in his face. He has a knack for disrupting my serene morning peace by loudly attempting to tell me a long-winded story or by holding a conversation with me. His overwhelming tide of verbal garbage annoys me. In fact, any noise in the mornings annoys me because it destroys my ability t o cope with the onslaught of the coming day. I give him his second "look that could kill" of the morning and bark, "Shut up!"

He looks wounded and closes his mouth without a sound or a whimper, and his incessant need to talk can then be controlled with the "Sshh" hand sign. I usually avoid him as much as possible by going from room to room while we get ready. He is dressed for work and eating breakfast by the time I start to get dressed. I lay out something to wear to work each night, and each morning I change my mind at least three times before I decide what I really want to wear. As a teacher, I am required to dress prof essionally, but I do not have the luxury of a uniform. My husband usually laughs at me and tries to help. Unfortunately for him, I am ill and cranky until I have had my first Coke of the day, which is usually after he leaves for work. When the time for my husband to leave arrives, I help him find his keys, and we do our loving verbal dance. Sometimes I am already having serious problems getting ready, so he helps me find whatever I am frantically tearing the house apart to find. I usher him out the doo r as quickly as possible and sigh as I close it behind him. My two morning rituals of rushing and hunting now begin in earnest. I rush through the morning, and I hunt for everything from my keys to my contacts. If I am lucky, I manage to have breakfast and some more Coke before I rush to wherever I have to be. Some mornings I even manage to pack something other than Pop Tarts or peanut butter and crackers for lunch. I believe mornings are always too busy going my husband's way to ever go mine. Everyt hing that happens during my morning tends to make me hysterical.

There is never a dull morning at our house. I have never been a morning person like my husband. I hang on for dear life and try to survive each morning while he glides through them without a scratch. We have been married a little over seven months and are still learning how to be around one another in the mornings without killing each other. We do attempt to help one another out in the mornings, although he is usually the one doing the helping. Occasionally, I am the one who finds his keys for hi m or fixes his breakfast and lunch. Usually he is calming me down and helping me find my keys, my paper, or my self control. He brings calm and order to our mornings; I bring hysteria and insanity. Our different morning personalities just seem to bring a weird kind of balance to our routine.

Melissa Kirksey