It’s five a.m. The bread is in the oven, breakfast in my bowl. I made it in the crock pot last night in an amazing feat of “I’m going to get ready for school the night before. The momentum should last at least a week.

I’m listening to crickets. Birds aren’t yet awake.

It’s funny how five a.m. was light all summer. It’s dark now. The first tree’s turned golden. It’s fall, no matter what the calendar says.

My first day of school. I’m preparing. I love getting up early. It’s my favorite time of day–the best time to write and think without…

“Mom! Who’s your favorite character in Minecraft?”

His silhouette appears in the door frame. All work and creativity ceases and desists. It’s why I get up at four to write so I can be a good mom the rest of the day. This is my time. I protect it at all costs.

“It’s five in the morning, buddy. Go to bed.” He jumps on my lap. I put the computer down. We cuddle.

I want to sleep with you!”

“I’m not sleeping. I’m working.” School starts today. I’m not prepared. I need to finish these things…I let him slide beside me.

He snuggles up in a blanket. I think he’s asleep. I start clicking away again, rushing to prepare a minimum viable product for the school year. He senses the urgency. Eyes pop open.

“Mom, tell me all the characters in Mario brothers.”

“Sorry, I don’t know many…”

“Mom….can I play Minecraft?”

“Listen, 5 a.m. is sleep time. You can watch TV or play games at 7 a.m. Now, you have to be sleeping. Go back to your bed.”

“Okay, I’m going to play in my room so you don’t know I’m awake. Get me when I can play Minecraft.

Sounds like a deal to me.

That was yesterday. Today, I’m trying again. The world is silent. I almost trust the silence.  I know I could hear “Mom!” at any time. Bread is in the oven.  Work, work, work…My selfish voice says, “This is writing time, not working time.”

I answer, “It’s only for the first week of school…I promise!” I finish paper one. I might be ready for today after all if only the boy stays asleep.

Then I remember, while Declan is sleeping away, getting ready for his first day of school, that somewhere, in some place, a teacher is putting her child back to bed so she can get ready for mine. She is rushing to get things done for class. She might even brush her child aside once or twice, missing something cute or important that will never be repeated. They grow too fast, don’t they?

I think of the honor I receive when I walk into my classroom and enjoy some of the things parents miss, because truly children spend more time with teachers than parents during the school week.

I think of the teacher who will see my boy day after day…I hope she has fun with the things I miss. Yes, they grow too fast.

Now, I almost wish he’d pop out of bed and say, “Mom….” I’ll smile, and I’ll put my work aside.