Waking Up to You

You remember that time we were laying in bed—still groggy with sand in our eyes—and you rolled over and said,
“Erin, I like waking up to you.”

I made some joke about how you shouldn’t get used to it, but truth is—
I like it too.
I like knowing you’ll be there to start my day off on the right foot,
to sit with me in the baby dawn light
and arm me for the day ahead, the month ahead, my life ahead.
And even if the whole day passes and I don’t find time to check in with you,
I know that, if I ask, you’ll be there again at the end of it,
to help me decompress from whatever came my way.

I like knowing that you’ll be there to make sure I’m taking care of myself amidst the chaos of my life:
to get me moving in the morning
doing my chores—and the dishes I left the night before;
to make me stop working on Friday afternoons
and push me out the door to the yoga class I know I’ll be so happy I went to;
to journey with me to the market on Sunday
so that I can get food for the week while enjoying my dose of sunshine and people watching.

But more—I like the little things:
the crackle, hiss, whistle of the kettle every morning
before warming and waking over big mugs of tea;
the silky touch of lotion smoothing over my skin
after I step out of every shower;
the sticky sweet smell of the strawberry lip balm
that I can’t leave the apartment without.

Not everybody sees you the way I do.
I’ve heard the names people call you.
They say you’re dull, ordinary, unremarkable.
That you’re holding me back, keeping me from being spontaneous.
People tell me to ditch you, go do something different,
see the world,
have an adventure.

I used to agree with them.
I feared that if I let you be part of my life, you’d march in like a schoolmaster,
telling me when I can sit, stand, sharpen my pencils.
And I’d hunch over my desk scribbling down the lines that you fed me with ever dulling utensils.
And all the while I would be dulling, too.

People talk.
And I used to listen to the stories they would tell about you
with open ears, wide eyes, and a spirit that was afraid of being locked in a cage of regularity.

But you were persistent against my resistance,
always showing up when I didn’t even realize I needed you
offering help, comfort—or just something solid to stand on.
I found myself wanting you around more,
craving the time we would spend together.
Before I knew it, you were a regular in my life.

And now, I know that all those people were mistaken.

I know that of all the quotidian things I deal with on a daily basis, you’re not one of them.
You may be regular, but you’re not ordinary.

I know that of all the things that hold me back from taking the world by storm—
the fear, the doubt, the laziness—
you’re not one of them.
In fact, you’re one of the few things keeping me on track and moving forward.

And I know, without a doubt, that I could travel to the four corners of this earth—
follow the fishes to the deepest depths of the ocean,
scale Mt. Kilimanjaro
—but no matter how far I got, I would always turn around and find you following in step.
You may look a little different, more sun-beaten and rugged, but you’d be there.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

See, it’s not that I can’t live without you.
I just know I can’t be the person I want to become
without you there nudging me along.

In times of joy you are there to celebrate with me and remind me revel in the wonder of life.
When I’m successful, you congratulate me,
but remind me to never forget where I’ve come from, and where I’m going.
When I feel lost and confused, you help me draw the map.
And when the world throws sorrow or pain my way—
when it pulls the tears from my eyes and makes me walk across a bed of nails—
you step back and give me a place to mourn,
even though I know you’re still there, holding the bandages and ready to help me heal.

Look, I know things aren’t perfect—I’ll be the first to admit it.
There are times we’ll go weeks without seeing each other,
days I’ll be too wrapped up in my own business to give you the time of day.

But there are so many more things I want to do with you.
I want to get up early and sit in out underwear,
scribbling down the stories we have to tell.
I want to take walks in the middle of the day,
seeking solace from our screens and letting our minds breathe.
I want to cuddle up in bed before we drift off to sleep.
escaping into the teetering mountain of novels that has been slowly growing.

Making you a more regular part of my life is gonna take work—
effort, desire, and dedication—
but it’s work that’s worth it.

And you know why?

When I look a year into the future, where everything is black and uncertain,
you’re under a spotlight in the middle of the darkness, waiting with arms wide open.
When I look a month in the future, where things are still blurry and painted over in big red question marks,
you’re there—clear as day—sitting at my kitchen table and handing me a steaming cup of Earl Grey.
When I look to tomorrow, when I’m laying there with eyes glued shut and brain still in a dream,
you’re there singing Today is Monday, today is Monday, how do you feel today?
and urging me to get up and make something of my day.

Like a thread stitched through
the ins and outs,
ups and downs,
highs and lows—
you hold them all together.
Give me something to grab onto,
something to keep me from floating away,
a tangible reminder that—
no matter how much everything seems to be falling to pieces around me—
I’m still here and this world keeps on turning,
and you’re still holding strong.

I guess what I’m trying to say
is that I want you here
to be my everyday.


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