“A Reason for Waking Up,” column for Sept. 4, 2012


Waking up is hard to do. It’s harder on some days than on others, especially for those of us (and we know who we are) who will never be “morning people.”

For years, I thought it was all a matter of age. Babies and old people woke at dawn and went to bed with the chickens. So to speak. Teenagers would stay up all night and sleep like the dead all day. Everybody else woke up when they had to and went to bed whenever they could.

I still think that’s generally true, but there are exceptions. Well, at least one: Me.

If I live to be a 120, I’ll never be a “morning person.” I can get up with the best of them as early as need be. I can shower and dress, even pour a cup of coffee. But don’t expect me to do things like talk. Or walk. Or drive.

I remember as a child thinking  someday, when I got to be as old as my grandmother, I would be a morning person, too. She was 48. Imagine my dismay when 48 came and went and I still didn’t know my name before noon.

After my children were born, I acted like a morning person simply because they didn’t give me any choice. I still stayed up late, of course. It was the only way to have a minute to myself. But no matter how late I went to bed, I always rolled out early to make sure they were fed, dressed, reasonably clean and got to school on time. Usually.

The last thing I wanted was to get a call from the principal’s office saying my child had come to school late again. Hungry. Unwashed. Without homework, of all things. And naked.

The very thought of it was enough to make me wake with a gasp and hit the floor running.

I hit the floor running for years. For my children. For my job. For the dog that had to go out, the cat that had to be fed, and anything thing else that made me feel needed, that gave me cause to get out of bed.

It helps a non-morning person to have a reason to start the day.

My reasons are different now. My children are grown. I still have a job, for which I am grateful, but I tend to work at home at night in my pajamas.

I don’t have a dog or a cat. We often talk about getting one, but I worry that it might get eaten by coyotes. Or that I might have to get up to let it out or feed it.

But still, I wake up early on occasion _ and with a smile.

When I visit my children, for example; if I stay at my daughter’s house, I will hear her first thing in the morning feeding and changing her baby, Henry. Then she brings him in and puts him in bed with me.

If I stay at my younger son’s house, his 2-year-old, Randy, will wake me with a book to read or bubbles to blow or important stories to tell.

Last week, when I visited my oldest in L.A., I woke before daylight when he tiptoed in the room to cover me (the way I used to cover him) with an extra blanket. I didn’t really wake up. I just smiled into the pillow.

Sometimes, when I’m home, my husband brings me coffee in bed. He puts cinnamon in it. He knows I’ll wake up for that.

But once in a great while, for no particular reason, I wake up all own my own to get up and watch the sunrise.

I sit facing west as the sun comes up behind me shining its light like a beacon on the tops of the Spring Mountains, spilling slowly across the desert all the way to my back door.

I wish you could see it.

Even a non-morning person needs reminding on occasion that the sun still rises with or without us, and we are part of something bigger, a greater purpose than we can know.

I’ll never be a morning person. I just hope I keep waking up.


  1. My friend sent this to me, although I had already read it. You have met Gill in a Piedmont town during a speaking engagement. She laughs because I am worthless before 11:am If she phones, she is greeted with disorientation, and unintelligible responses. In fact, I may not even remember that she called. At least now she knows I am not as unique as she once thought.

  2. Pam Blakely says

    I’m always grateful to be on the “right side of the dirt.”

    Great, as always

  3. Indeed, Sharon, so do I. Don’t we all? Another gem.



  4. Alice M. Anderson says

    I’m listening! My problem right now IS walking. It will take a larger space than this little box to explain and I will do that soon. Your beautiful words have cheered me during my recovery.

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