I'm lying in my bed. The room is the optimal temperature. The sheets and blankets still have that fresh-from-the-laundry smell from last night's washing. The pillow is perfectly fluffed. I think a bird outside is tweeting. I'm floating in that lovely, half-awake, half-asleep state. Then I hear it.
"Daddyyy." Maybe he's just rolling around. "DA-DEE." I open my eyes but hold my body still. "Maybe he'll go back to sleep," I think.
"I want to go downstairs."
I pick up my glasses from the end table, annoyed that I had to move both my arm and my head, and look at the clock. It says 6:51 A.M. "Oh, you've got to be kidding, William. Just lie there and go back to sleep, OK? If you love Daddy, you'll go back to sleep."
Thump, thump. He's out of his bed and walking around, which means he's awake for good. Dammit. I manage to get myself to a seated position, despite the fact that my bed's gravitational pull is greater than that of a black hole. Then I hear a new voice from the bottom of the stairs.
"Daddy?" It's Grace.
"I hear William."
"Are you going to get him?"
Five years old and she's already learned to nag. Wonderful. I open William's bedroom door and he's grinning and laughing like an idiot. "Why are you so happy?" I ask. "It's not even 7:00 in the morning."
"Elmo," he says, thrusting his Elmo doll at me.
"Yes, Elmo." I say. He laughs again and throws himself onto his mattress, rolling around and giggling. As I stand there in my underwear watching this, cold and crabby, I'm thinking: A.) Who are you that enjoys these ungodly hours so much; B.) Did I really make you? Because I couldn't have. You can't possibly have my genes in your body; C.) I REALLY can't watch TV until midnight anymore.
After I get his outfit for the day and haul him from his bed I see that Little Miss Thing is still at the bottom of the stairs.
"You got him?" she asks.
"Are you coming down now?"
Boy, she's going to make some lucky man quite happy some day. God bless him.