30 days of gratitude Day 5 – Sunday Mornings

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Sunday morning

Sunday morning, 11am. I am in bed. Still. As usual for a Sunday. Since having our youngest daughter, weekend lie-ins in our house have followed a ritual of turn-taking. In the spirit of deferred gratification, I rise first on Saturdays in order to earn a lazy Sunday morning in bed. This also allows encourages (ok, sometimes inclines!) me to get my lesson planning completed early, so that by the time my husband arises, the weekend begins in earnest and I can relax. Saturdays are usually “getting things done” days – almost always non-stop. But the real jewel in the crown of my weekend is the Sunday Morning Lie-in.

Thanks to the MS Hug (which, for me, worsens as I sleep), any longer than about seven hours of sleeping results in a sensation that puts me in mind of broken ribs. (Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly for dramatic effect there, but it’s along those lines.) Therefore my lie-in doesn’t usually entail a lengthy period of slumber. No, the joy is in the staying put. A good morning text to “him downstairs” is a thinly disguised code for “I am ready for my first cup of tea now please”. Also unspoken but firmly understood is the unwritten set of Sunday Morning Rules:

“I’d like tea, but not conversation. Don’t bother with small talk; don’t loiter on the edge of the bed hoping for an invitation to join me. I would like tea, and to be left alone. You can leave now…close the door on your way out. Thank you.”

Fortunately, after several years, my husband accepts this arrangement and embraces it fully, delivering my morning cuppa (in my favourite cup) and exiting swiftly.

I sound spoilt. I realise that. But I could mitigate this by explaining that, six days a week, I rise a good couple of hours before the rest of the house. My first hour or two of consciousness is not something I am accustomed to sharing. It is during this time that I tentatively explore the inner workings of my mind, my mood, test the water…check the weather, the metaphorical barometer of what my body and mind have in store for the day ahead. It is also during this time that, if needed – if I detect a potential gloomy cloud in the sky of my psyche – I pause, observe, readjust and reset. I am by no means claiming that this is always successful, that I don’t sometimes end up grumpy regardless of this mental reboot, but it is always worth investing the time to give it a shot. Most days it makes some difference. By the time I have to use my actual voice, my internal voice has been brainwashed by mantras, affirmations and positive self-talk, so the ensuing sound is a sung “good morning” rather that the grunt that was so instinctive just an hour earlier.

So the enforced exclusion zone around my bedroom until the first cup of tea has been downed is a sensible one, and is in the interests of all parties. The second cup of tea is usually accompanied by the six-year-old, tablet in hand loaded up with  a current Netflix favourite, ready to join me under the covers. Here we pass a solid two – sometimes three – hours, her engrossed in the perk of (usually limited) extended screen time, me browsing Pinterest, reading a book or pen in hand, planning and reflecting, doodling and scribbling. More tea and breakfast are delivered periodically and the husband, in turn, earns uninterrupted sofa time.

This time of review and recuperation, looking back over the previous week and setting goals for the next, is so precious, so essential a part of my week that I have been known to turn down plans in order to preserve it. It is a sacred space, a time of mental, emotional and physical replenishment.

So today I sit snuggled under the duvet, cup of tea in hand, daughter nestled into my arm, breakfast on the way, in grateful appreciation of the Sunday Morning Lie-in.

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