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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

The Morning Race

We're involved in racing because there's that element of competition. But there's that desire to push yourself beyond the natural comfort zone and the boundaries that are preset if you like, and to be better than the rest. Allan McNish, a British race car driver

I hear parents lament about their morning routine and how hard it is to get their children out of bed, fed and ready for school. An awareness usually drops in the room and they look at me as if to say, you must have really had it hard. These are the times I just nod and smile. The few who are brave enough to audibly express their condolences hear the story of how our morning routine was basically a race.

Even before we had to meet the 7 o’clock school bus, all three had to be ready for our morning ride to daycare. By the time I had to return to work after having my third son (8 weeks old), I had a four and two year old that also had to get ready. We had some practice getting up and out while I was expecting so we had a pretty good routine down. I would get up at 5 am to prepare for the day. That first hour was all mine to pray, shower, iron clothes and mentally focus. I don't drink coffee so this time alone was my boost. I listened to a gospel station so I could get my mind and spirit right for the day. By 6 am, I would start awaking the troops. We did baths at night so it was a matter of them getting dressed and in the bathroom to brush their teeth, wash and lotion their face, and comb their hair. By 7 we were all fed and ready into the car for the ride to daycare. (Remind me to one day tell you the story of finding a nurturing Christian daycare that had openings for all three children for the $200 per week I had to spend on childcare. They left that daycare knowing how to read and write in English, 26 memorized Bible verses and their numbers, colors and days/months in Spanish.)

My guys were very fond of The Power Rangers. At this point of the series, the green ranger was the man. I had a Tupperware set with a green bowl, plate and cup. Once we shifted to the oldest going to school, we had to create some type of excitement to get everyone to the kitchen in time for the oldest to catch the school bus, the other two to ride with me to daycare and give me enough time to get to work on time. So the deal was whoever made it to the kitchen first, would get the green bowl…the coveted green bowl. Now it was just a matter of saying alright guys, who is going to be the grand prize winner today? And to make things even more interesting, I would start singing some chase music.

This would be the perfect time to have a Soundcloud account so you can hear what this music sounded like. Just imagine an old movie before talkies became popular and the music that played when the cops were chasing the bad guys. Now you may be thinking, didn’t this cause a problem because the oldest probably won a lot. Well, to avoid any issues, the first grand prize winner got the green bowl, the second grand prize winner got the plate and the third grand prize winner got the cup. Sometimes the first to the kitchen would “claim” all 3 green items in ultimate victory of being first. At this age, everyone won so there were no issues. Actually sometimes the youngest one won since he had the assist from mom – tee hee. Most of the time we were all running down the hallway at the same time, trying to slide in first with just a few milliseconds between us. It was a great way to get the adrenaline pumping for a productive day. I found that healthy competition was always a good motivator in our house.

By the time all three were in elementary school, there wasn’t any need for the race to the kitchen. The lesson had been learned and I never had any trouble getting them up for school. My guys knew that it was a part of their job to get to the bus stop on time, no matter what the weather was. Sometimes they had projects that had to be carried or needed to get to school before the bus arrived. I was happy to take them then. Otherwise it was March or Die…

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