A household awakens a little at a time, much the same as it settled down the night before. The little ones are first to greet the new day. In the wee hours of morning, the baby stirs in his cradle and begins the cooing and gurgling which will soon become a full cry for mother’s milk. The patter of small feet will tumble down the hallway above, signalling the soon arrival of a two year old in the parent’s big bed. Mom and dad are now “awake.” We are not yet “up,” however, but that is coming. 

“I want cereal,” means up and at ‘em, dad.  The night is over. Let the day begin. Breathing a prayer of gratitude for the soon to be sunrise, you make your way to the kitchen. “Cereal coming right up,” you tell your small son. Pouring a bowl full of kid’s breakfast cereal can cause something to trigger within a parent. The colors, the crunch, and the sugary coating entice you, so you grab a second bowl and fill it for yourself. The two of you sit content in the pre-dawn gloaming and munch. One must admit, you make quite a pair… father and son, staring at the back of the cereal box, mouths full of fun shapes of flavor. When finished , the bowls go to the sink for rinsing because there is no adhesive in the world that can match the stickiness of dried cereal in a non-rinsed bowl. It is easier to scrape barnacles off a boat in dry dock than to mess with hardened cereal on a ceramic bowl.

Finding the Binky is next on the list of early pursuits. Your job is to track down one of the dozen or so pacifiers that you have purchased in the last six months. The intent of your search is to keep Junior quiet so that his mother and his siblings can sleep for ten more minutes. I am quite certain that the Almighty has a angel order in charge of handling all requests for lost binkies. There are surely thousands of them daily… Stepping on a lost binky means you have found one. Grateful, you pop it in your child’s mouth - remembering too late that it should be washed. So you quickly pop the pacifier in your own mouth and then re-insert the plastic peacemaker into your waiting child’s mouth. This is considered proper parenting.

By this time, those who were merely “awake,”  are now also “up.” A cry goes up for coffee, and the resounding echo is heard throughout the house. Teenagers emerge from under piles of blankets - their first words uttered go something like, “black with two sugars.”  For a split second, you are taken aback, for what seemed to be a pile of laundry now moves and speaks. This is how teenagers spend the night. They curl up on the couch to watch a movie, usually falling asleep before the final credits and then, ‘coming to’ in the morning, in desperate need of caffeine. Having received the coffee mandate you grab a twenty dollar bill off the kitchen counter,(That was for the babysitter!) and head for the coffee shop. Not just any shop will do. You must journey to the trendy cafe which features the latte of choice. Not just any latte will do. You drive on with purpose, passing lesser coffee shops and wondering just what makes a latte a latte. How did you manage these fifty plus years without the latte? You have settled for coffee all this time. You have even tasted the dreaded ‘instant’ coffee which comes in crystal form and brews in your cup. You must be a coffee survivor. Thus, you are the hearty veteran on the caffeine quest for your family this morning. They must not be made to suffer as you have in the past. Lattes it will be!

Once you arrive, you immediately realize that there are many others are in search of liquid caffeine. You wait your turn while standing in a line of stylish folks which passes directly in front of the counter featuring scrumptious looking chocolate items which you now MUST HAVE. You DESERVE such a treat. You are the one who made the early morning journey to latte-land, so you should be rewarded.  Besides, you will have eaten it before you arrive back at home, and none will be the wiser.

You return from your travels with a cardboard carrier filled with barely balanced cups of latte. Returning from a snowy hunt with a dead moose in tow could not be more difficult. You stand on your porch kicking at the door (the foot being the only free appendage with which to knock) however everyone is now showering or getting dressed and so you balance the precious liquid on the porch railing while you quickly open the door. You then enter the kitchen with a hoped-for hero’s welcome, much like your Viking ancestors would have known upon returning from conquests and such.

Alas, you are by-passed by the cafe crowd of wife and children who are soon busy passing out  the booty. As for you, you sit down in your favorite chair, listening to the coffee talk and considering yourself the luckiest man on earth. You are awake and up on this gift of a new day. You have saved your chocolate bakery item in your pocket for later. For now, life is sweet enough.