I am an early bird.

I like to get up super early in the morning. 4:00-4:30ish. Some people say I’m crazy. Some people get me. My pop always got me. But he always got up super early in the morning. Maybe he’s why I fell into the habit of it. He’s the reason for a few of my habits, after all – methodically wrapping gifts, question-asking, cold beer after mowing the lawn, kisses good morning, goodnight, hello, and goodbye. Good habits. Good hugs.

When people ask, “Why so early?” I tell them because I like my coffee hot and dark and quiet. Some people don’t get it. Some people totally get it. My mind works best in the morning, and my body’s slow to catch up. And I know that. And I’m cool with it. I think and I read and I work and I create best in the morning. By about 2:30 PM my brain cells start to power down. Then my quads take over. When my mind has run out of energy and interest, my body physically kicks in. Takes me into autopilot, yeah? Yes.

When I’m in the office, I do the easy shit at the end of my workday. And at about 3:30 PM, like clockwork, my short, muscular legs walk me out of the building and into my whip, where I sit for a sec and answer texts, pick a podcast or a Pandora radio station, crank the heat, slide Blue Mamba into Reverse, and then into Drive, and I’m off. And everything happens automatically –

Speed up as fast as you’re comfortable, look into your rearview mirror, check your blind-spot, flick your directional on, glance behind you, veer over, look back up into the rearview mirror, flick the directional off, speed up to give space, exhale, zone out, engage peripheral.

Five to seven reps, at least, from Shakopee to Long Lake. By the time I pull into the garage, I’m done-done. I want so hard to be as sharp as I was at 4:57 AM, but it Just. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. Maybe answer a text or an email, but about now is when my daughters sometimes call – sometimes they get home before me – I answer. Delighted. We wrap it up as quickly as we started. They have a key, they let themselves in. They lock the front door behind them and close its blinds. Grab a snack that they don’t have to heat or cut and head to the lower level to watch TV until I get home. Sometimes they remember to call me. They’re lucky if I’m ten minutes behind them, but I’m helping them feel what independence looks like, and build their confidence in knowing they can handle their own shit. They keep telling me to run an errand after work, so it takes longer. It’s dynamite, really. I never loved myself as much as I have since I became a mother … I think I’m fantastic, these little monsters are even better.

So I sit in the car for a sec, consider a text or finish a song. Turn everything off on the dash: The radio and the seat warmer and the heat. And I step out into 4:17 PM – twelve hours from where I started, and everything looks so different – the flip side. I like it better in the morning.

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