Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Early Riser

It's 7:30 in the morning on my first of two days off. I must learn the art of sleeping in! I wouldn't mind sleeping past 8:00 from time to time. In reality, there's little chance that I will ever sleep late. I spent too much time as a child with my grandmother, who would wake up around 4:30 to begin cooking a huge breakfast. (This is my grandmother who cooks breakfast for her entire church every Sunday morning.)

I usually love the fact that I wake up so early. I am incredibly productive in the early morning hours, and really enjoy the intense quiet that is so rare in my neighborhood. But there are moments when those hours are lonely. I usually find some way to occupy myself, such as reading, writing, or cleaning. But when the early morning loneliness is too much, I can always call my grandmother, the only person who I know will also be awake. Some of my best conversations with her have taken place at 5:00 in the morning.

She updates me on all the family news, and if she has time, all of the Arkansas news as well. She is the kind of grandmother who will say, "Someone in Little Rock died yesterday. His name was such-and-such. Did you know him?" This used to drive me crazy, but now I can laugh at it. This past Saturday, my young cousins (ages 5 and 3) were at her house during our conversation, playing in the background, and every now and then running into another room, getting on the other phone line, and yelling "Samantha, Samantha we're goin' to a pumpkin patch. Gettin' a big pumpkin." Of course, I only understood this after my grandmother translated.

It's entertaining to hear my young cousins living the life of mine that is gone: sleepovers at grandmother's house, rides in my granddaddy's 18-wheeler, going to Children's Church without having to think about what being Nazarene really means. But my favorite conversations with my grandmother are when no one else is at her house. These have been pivotal in bringing us closer together. During one such conversation I found the reason my grandmother put so much pressure on me when I was younger to be more girly: always making me dresses, spending a half hour curling my hair, asking me to cross my legs at the ankles, requiring my assistance in the kitchen, and not allowing me to play basketball in the driveway with my boy cousins and brother. This pressure was the source of many arguments and tears, but in one a.m. chat with her, I discovered that my grandmother did this because she had been such a tomboy growing up and always felt like she wasn't accepted because of it. She was trying to save me from some of the embarrassment she had felt as a child. Of course, it was also during one of these conversations that, after I joked that I was falling behind since all my other cousins are married and/or having kids, she said "Oh, you're not going to get married. You're a working girl." And this was spoken in a tone of such consolation...

Anyhow, my roommate just woke up. She asked what I was blogging about, and when I told her, she said, "No, you can't sleep in, it would ruin you for life." Maybe it wouldn't ruin my life to sleep in, but those early hours have, in many ways, made my life what it is. And I wouldn't trade that for a few extra hours of sleep.

No comments: