I opened my eyes and looked out the window. Although the view was blurry because my glasses were out of reach on my nighstand, I could tell that the sun was just starting to rise. I heard a toilet flush in another part of the house, then footsteps, then the faint buzz of NPR as my husband turned on the radio in the kitchen. My son was still cuddled next to me, breathing rhythmically and smelling of sleep (rather than of pee, as he often does).
He was, I slowly realized, not nursing.
Here was my chance.
I took a deep breath to slow the beating of my heart, then set about slowly, slowly lifting his little arm off of me and setting it gently by his side. After I’d severed the physical contact between us, I lay still, barely breathing, as I counted—1-1000, 2-1000…—to 30.
When he didn’t stir, I rolled slowly off of the bed and reached for my glasses. I didn’t dare use the master bathroom for fear of waking him.
I tiptoed slowly towards the bedroom door. There was a tiny click when the door opened, and my son stretched and rolled onto his side.
I held my breath for another thirty seconds. He stayed asleep.
Just as I’d almost pulled the door shut, he stretched and rubbed his face and rolled onto his other side. He was totally going to wake up this time.
But no, he resettled himself again.
I gave a silent cheer, then latched the door, making no perceptible noise at all, and made my way quickly down the hall to the other bathroom.
With that done, I went into the kitchen and greeted my husband. I grabbed the spiral-bound notebook I’d purchased at Target the other day and my favorite pen, then headed into the office. It’s not the most comfortable place to write, but I needed to be away from the sound of the radio, so I made do with my hand going numb by the end of the first page.
Three pages and thirty minutes after I sat down, I’d finished Morning Pages for the first time since the second trimester of my pregnancy with my son, about two and a half years ago.
This was quite a coup.
I started doing Morning Pages (from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) regularly in 1998. I took a break during my pregnancy with my daughter because I couldn’t get through a half-hour of morning writing without throwing up, and didn’t add it back to my regular routine again until she was nearly two when it helped me keep my sanity during the year she spent waking for the day at 4:30 every morning. In the past months, I’ve been plotting a return to this habit, waiting for the right moment to add it back. This morning was it.
I love doing Morning Pages. It’s just thirty minutes of free writing with no pauses. If I don’t know what to write, I write, “I don’t know what to write,” until I think of something. The point is to keep my pen moving for three notebook pages.
It’s like brushing my teeth first thing in the morning. It’s like taking a shower. It’s like walking outside and taking a deep breath of cool morning air.
Not only did my son let me do Morning Pages, but he stayed asleep long enough for me to do my morning yoga practice, too. Then when he woke up, he was in a fabulous mood and sat and read me A Giraffe and a Half while I washed my face and wiped down the bathroom. It really set the stage for a happy and productive day (which involved (in addition to the usual math/reading/history/grammar/flute drill) organizing my garage, rearranging my basement, and releasing into the wild a torporific grasshopper we found in the cilantro I took out of the fridge while making supper).
Do I dare hope for a repeat tomorrow morning?