The intrusive siren of my alarm ripped me from my peaceful island, and suddenly I found myself within the 4 walls of my bedroom.  My fan hummed in the distance, a soundtrack to the army of thoughts suddenly invading my mind.

I blinked a few times, and let out a sigh as I lazily kicked my covers from my legs. I desperately wanted to pull them back up and stay snuggled inside the warmth of the soft fabric.  Instead I shuffled to the bedroom next to mine, and quietly opened the door.

As I took in the sight of my beautiful toddlers sleeping peacefully, the infantry of thoughts in my head began firing all at once.

I have to hurry, we have 55 minutes until we leave.  Aubrey’s vocabulary words are due today and I have to remember to bring wipes to Kaiden’s school. Hopefully I can find a pair of matching socks, I think they are still in the dryer. Speaking of dryer, did I ever hang Aubrey’s uniforms up or are they still on the table? The table, breakfast, what am I giving them for breakfast? I need to go grocery shopping.  There’s no money on the card, I’ll have to go to the bank. I’ll need gas if I’m going that far.  Shit, I can’t get gas until I go to the bank.  I’ll have to go before school.  We have to hurry. I really need to get organized. 

“Hey guys, time to get up for school.” I whisper softly.

Both babies stir simultaneously and Kaiden springs up like a Jack-In-The-Box. “Morning Mommy, me hungey.” He says rubbing his eyes. I hear Aubrey coming down the hall. “Good morning. Do you know where my uniforms are?” She asks from the doorway, her hair wild, from sleep.  I smile at her as I lift Chloe from her crib and notice Aubrey’s pajamas are too small for her.  She is growing so fast, too fast.

The morning commences the same way it always does; I frantically walk in circles picking up clothes, dressing children, packing backpacks and making food.  10 minutes left. Panic sets in.  The children want to dance and play- they are children, after all.  We have no time.

I should wake up earlier, I hate mornings.  I can’t wake up earlier, the army of thoughts take residency in my mind until the wee hours of the morning.  They never leave. I never sleep. Maybe I’ll nap when I get home. I can’t, I have to clean, and make dinner. Dinner, what am I making for dinner? I need to go grocery shopping. I have to get money on the card.  Shit. The bank…

Guys! We have to go now!”

Mornings. They are repetitive, chaotic, stressful, day in, day out. Groundhogs day. I want more, I want peace, I want to sleep in. I want someone else to get them ready, to drop them off, to carry the overwhelming weight of motherhood, I want someone else to carry it for me. Please, just for one day.

And then I remember.

I remember what mornings used to be like.

I remember popping my eyes open and immediately wanting to die.

I remember twisting in pain beneath the covers as the opiate withdrawal kicked in.

I remember spending my entire day like a 2-liter of Coke that had been shaken, ready to explode at any moment, if only the lid would open.  But it never did. The pressure was stuck inside me with nowhere to escape.

I remember telling 7 lies before noon.

I remember sneaking around in the darkness while scheming and plotting and planning and stealing and lying and hurting and dying.

I remember waking up 121 times in a jail cell.

I remember waking up 176 times in a rehabilitation center.

I remember waking up 181 times in a twin bed next to a room mate in a halfway house.

Today I woke up in my own bed, in my own home.

I glance into my rearview mirror with new eyes. I watch as Kaiden gleefully kicks his legs up and down, and Aubrey sings the song on the radio at the top of her lungs as if she were in a music video. Chloe’s tiny little arms stick up above her car seat as she claps to the beat.

We do this everyday, everyday the same. Today it’s different.

My resentment has been replaced with gratitude.  I am grateful for the clothes I dressed my beautiful children in. I am grateful for the breakfast I fed them. I am grateful for this stressful, chaotic, repetitive morning. I am bursting with joy as I am reminded of the magnificent responsibility my higher power has bestowed upon me – the role of a Mother.

Today – this day – that has been the same as all the other days this week, is the greatest day of all. I am clean, I am healthy…

I am alive.