The Gort ran into our bedroom a few minutes after seven this morning. ‘Mom, it’s 7.06,’ he stage-whispered while crawling under the covers. ‘Jusgivemetenminutes,’ I slurred-begged, paralyzed by insufficient sleep. I shut my eyes with the hope of achieving ten minutes of serious REM-stage sleep. Not a chance. ‘Mom,’ I heard the voice again, ‘it’s 7.19’. ‘Just one more minute,’ I lied, while trying to psych myself up for the monumental task of lifting up covers and catapulting my legs onto the floor.
Having given up hope, the Gort and his younger brother ‘tiptoed’ (ran like a herd of cattle) downstairs, blazing a trail of artificial light as they flipped every available switch in their path. It’s the only way to get me out of bed in a timely manner: turning on all the lights while making enough noise to possibly wake up their baby brother…and creating some sort of havoc. [Yesterday’s ‘get-mom-out-of-bed-quickly’ trick was dumping a bottle of water in the hallway. I heard the splat of water hitting floorboards. And, boom-goes-the-dynamite, I was out of bed.]
They ate their breakfast while I packed the first-grader’s lunch. I donned yesterday’s clothes; the only clothes I could find while feeling around on the floor of my still-dark bedroom. Where the professor was catching a few hours of sleep in between deadlines. (I learned several hours later that I’d put my shirt on inside out.)
By the time I and my two sidekicks were dressed and ready to go, it was 7.53am. Seven whole minutes before we needed to leave. ‘Come on, let’s go!’ the Gort exhorted. Ever-concerned with arriving on time. ‘It’s 7.53,’I protested, ‘we don’t leave until 8.’
‘That’s okay,’ he reassured me, ‘because Martin Luther King Jr. just wants people to have a good time, so it doesn’t even matter.’
I stared at him – mouth agape, torn between feeling concerned about this random and somewhat inaccurate take on MLK’s life….and laughing. Out loud. ‘What are you talking about…who told you about Martin Luther King Jr?’
‘My teacher,’ he explained. Obviously. I felt the laughter bubbling up in my throat, and there was no suppressing it this time around, or turning it into some sort of beatific smile.
I howled – unabashedly – at my two-months-from-seven year old. ‘It’s not funny,’ he chastised. Except, it was. I told another school mom what my cherub had said. ‘I know!’ she nodded, ‘my daughter said today we’re celebrating a man who did great things for girls!’
Apparently, ‘having a good time’ and ‘great things for girls’ equals ‘civil rights’ when you’re in grade one. Also, wasn’t MLK Day….last week?