"Good Morning!" smiles the woman, walking her too-cute for words dog, who piddles oh-so-quaintly on an already wet tree.
"Good Morning!" mouths the happy-faced commuter guy, with a song in his heart, a spring in his step and his cell phone to his ear.
It's like I've just stepped into a musical set in 1950's Gay Paree, courtesy of MGM studios. Pretty soon, some buxom lady dressed in black will open her windows to smell the glorious flowers in her window boxes and trill "Bon Matin, ma cherie!" and wave her lace hankie at me. Hmmm...Maybe I'm onto something with this line of thought. Yes, bon matin! and someone will pull out a wire backed chair and little cafe table and bring me a double shot mocha with that soft topping of foam and a pain au chocolat, the golden pastry delicately brown on the edges and--
"Good Morning!" proclaims a voice, half-hidden in shrubbery, wielding a watering can.
--and maybe someone will lob a week-old baguette at my head and put my out of my misery.
In real life, not the Disney version, I have been up since five this morning. A horrible night of sleep, laying next to Snackety Snackeroo who decided that I was the All You Can Nurse Buffet...no, he didn't want to fill up a big plate; instead, he took tiny salad plates of food and kept coming back every 40 minutes or so. This was my third night in a row of Crap Sleep. Suffice it to say, when Joe took Mr. Insatiable downstairs and the wee imp started running across the floor with the little "popcorn popper" (you know what I'm talking about-- that cylinder thing on a stick that has little balls in it), I was this close to calling the stork and asking it to take my bundle of joy back from whence it came. Since reality always kicks in at the most ugly moment, I ended up with a vision of a toddler in my womb, his cute little feet kicking at my brain.
So, scratch that idea.
I got up and attempted to cope with what I had before me. Happy shrieking toddler? Check. Harried, hardworking man-partner who needed to leave for work soon? Check. Bitter, grumpy old bag of a mom who now understood why thirty-five is the magical cut-off age for sane people to have children? All present and accounted for.
What did I do? What could I do? Said 'screw it' to the no caffeine rule, made myself a strong cup of tea (also know as "The Blood of the Civilized"), and went off for a nice long shower and to shave my legs.
If I'm going to look tired, I'm going to look good and tired.
Kissed the man off to work the moment I got out, and set to doing something about the too-long bangs. While I was plying them with a little goo and shoving barrettes into them, Little Darling Apple of My Eye was also busy, scattering the cat's food. I Sooo Did Not Care. Then I saw that he was also eating the cat's food, which has a tendency to turn my stomach in a way one thousand blood and gore movies never will. I put Joaquin on the other side of the gate-- a place known to him as "Horrible!, Can't Grab Mommy!"-- and began the cleanup of kitty's food. Upon further investigation of the mess, I noticed that the floor itself was gross, minus the cat food. Kitty's chewed-off nails, sock lint, bits of kitty litter tracked from the bathroom decorated the carpet. I just couldn't even think about it and spot cleaned with the hand broom and dustpan, chastising myself for passing up a great opportunity to see if the vacuum still worked.
Some say that Cleanliness is next to Godliness. I'm more of the opinion that Cleanliness is hanging out in the corner of the room in a huddle between Insanity and No Fun At All. And they are all plotting their revenge at me because I keep ignoring them.
If anything is next to Godliness in my house, it has to be Patience. Patience is what kept me from throwing my stroller, baby and all, at those "Top O' The Mornin' To Ya" well-wishers. I need patience far more than I need a clean floor. My son will only spill food on the clean floor, for which I will need ever more patience.
This is a touchy subject with me. I am not the most patient person. Life keeps trying to teach me lessons in this. (First baby at 36? Don't tell me that's not a lesson in patience.) We often value what we have the least of, and patience is one of those limited commodities with me. I am fortunate that I can usually hold up pretty well with kids, but adults drive me nuts. I can excuse kids of a lot of things, but become fairly annoyed with even the most well-meaning people, myself included.
I'm sure if patience were something one could buy, my Christmas stocking would be filled with gift certificates. "Good for Two Hours of Calm Patience", the little slip of paper might read. I'm not sure if it would be administered as a prophylactic injection-- "Traveling to see the parents? For a pleasant trip, don't leave town without your shots!"-- or some kind of peace and love aromatherapy piped into your house, with a groovy tangerine scent. Come to think of it, if it came that way, I'd order a 200-gallon load and have a tank installed, complete with an emotional thermostat.
The bill would be enormous.
So I walked the neighborhood, smiling like a zombie because everyone else was having a great morning and really, who was I to burst their bubble? Maybe it wasn't so bad, come to think of it. Not too hot out yet. I had a babysitter coming for a few hours today, so I would get a break. And what's that I hear?
Snoring. Little baby snores from the stroller.
Bon matin, baby. Bon matin.