Groundhog Mornings

Written by Heather Penn

My wife and I begin our morning ritual by listening to our 16-year-old explain how her view on whatever cause she’s decided to champion this week, is not just the right view but the only view.  All while simultaneously explaining to our 6-year-old that, yes, once again, it is very necessary that she attend school today and yes, we do understand that she thinks school is dumb and she already knows how to talk and read.


My wife and I do our best to appear that we are fully engaged in these conversations. Every. Single. Day. At some point, we realize that our son is still deep in sloth mode and we need to light a fire under him as well.

“Encouragement,” to “get your butt in gear,” is met with his traditional confused look. As if to say, “What? Who me?” Errrgh.


Meanwhile the 3-year-old, (being the happiest morning person on earth) is loud, bouncing off the walls and into everyone else’s morning bubble. Telling them what they should or should not do and how best to do it. As apparently her three years of life have made her an expert in all matters.


This flurry of action and cacophony of sound and voices, (not just the ones in our heads) are joined by our dog’s incessant barking. She feels the need to warn us of the cars and trucks rounding the corner on the road or if there’s a person outside, then, “CAT! Cat, cat, caaaaaaaaat! Come here! Come here! Now, now, now… feline devil!” she barks on.


The alarm sounds on my phone signaling that it’s go time.  But alas a clean break is not in the cards. Just before we leave the house my wife asks our son the same question she has asked him almost every day for the last three years. “Son.” She begins with a bit of trepidation. “Did you put on deodorant and brush your teeth?” And there it is, that look of absolute confusion. (What? Who me?). “No. I forgot he says.”


Finally, the ritual comes to a close as we say our goodbyes, hug and kiss then go our separate ways. The three younger kiddos head to our van, arguing with one another about something dumb and superfluous while the older kiddos run to catch the bus. When, just before walking out the door, my older daughter turns to me and says, “Dad, I’m sorry.”

“Why?” I ask.

“I’m never having kids. They’re just too much work!”


About the author

Heather Penn

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