The morning Mom planned to sleep in

By suppertime Friday night, I was already anticipating the luxury of sleeping in on Saturday morning. The early-morning ballgame had been cancelled by 5 p.m. because of the wild hurricane rains sweeping up the East Coast. There was absolutely nothing I had to get up for. It filled me with joy to think about this upcoming treat.

I prepared the kids in advance, by letting them stay up a bit later than usual and giving them a little speech about my expectations. "Don't leave your room before 7 a.m. Be very, very quiet. Eat some cereal or a Pop-Tart if you're hungry before I come downstairs." Everything was in place. This was going to be wonderful.

Well, like most "best-made plans," this one had some glitches. The first one was my internal alarm clock. By 6 a.m., I was wide awake, and my mind was filled with ideas. I almost grabbed my notebook and started writing, but I stopped myself. This was my lazy morning. I was not budging from the warm cocoon of my bed.

I lay there trying not to think. I closed my eyes. I breathed slowly and deeply. None of this was doing any good. By 6:40, I saw the ridiculousness of this. I told myself that if I were still awake at 7, I would just get up and start my day.

A funny thing happened. I began drifting off into a delicious half-sleep, floating between the real world and the dream world. I was vaguely aware of little feet walking past my door and down the stairs. I sleepily checked my clock to be sure it was after 7 o'clock. It was 7:06. I rolled over contentedly.

From time to time, I heard the voice of a cartoon character or the sounds of little hands rummaging through Lego buckets. They were doing great.

Suddenly something was different. The sounds had completely stopped. I roused myself to listen more closely. They were whispering. What were they saying? They were planning to surprise me by making breakfast.

Now I had to be fully awake, pretending to be asleep, so as not to spoil their plans, but totally alert so I could monitor this activity from my bed. They seemed to be doing OK. Big Brother, age 11, was clearly in charge, Little Brother, 7, was happily following orders.

"Get a pretty plate. Put the tea bag in the pot. Get a cloth napkin."

Next, they came up the stairs. "We have to wake her gently or she might get mad."

"Can I say it, please?" pleaded the little one.

"You can say, 'Mother dear, wake up,' and I'll tell her we have a special surprise."

I fluttered open my eyes and looked appropriately pleased. While I was debating whether to go formal or informal to the event, Big Brother raced back upstairs.

"May I try to light a match so we can have candles, please?"

I decided a candlelight breakfast deserved street clothes, not a nightgown, so I got dressed and sat on my bed, waiting patiently while they continued rustling around in the kitchen.

The house was suddenly filled with the sounds of my favorite music, Loon Magic, played at a volume about 10 decibels above what I could comfortably tolerate.

Then Big Brother arrived at my bedroom door to escort me to breakfast.

"Mother dear, your breakfast is served."

I made a mental note to ask where he got this "Mother dear" stuff and let him lead me into the dining room, where Little Brother was waiting to pull out my chair. Apparently, I was dining alone, because everything had been cleared away except my place setting, two little flowered votive candles nicely lighted, and a small vase sporting a jaunty red geranium flower, which had been cut from my favorite potted plant.

"Do you notice the theme?" Big Brother asked excitedly.

"It's all flowers, everything has flowers," blurted out Little Brother. And so it did. I had a plate, a bowl, a napkin, and a teacup, all decorated with flower patterns, none of which matched.

I told them it was beautiful. And it truly was.

The boys diplomatically took turns serving. First there was a bowl of randomly cut banana pieces, nicely browned by handling and exposure. Next there was an onion bagel half-toasted, with two slices of cheese on top.

I ate every single bite, exclaiming how delicious it all was, saying how amazed I was with the surprise, and telling them how very wonderful they were for doing all this for me. And I meant every word.

At 7:55, I washed the breakfast dishes.

So much for sleeping in on a Saturday morning. I guess some plans are just meant to be changed.

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