The house was dark that morning, as should be expected at 6am. It was also quiet, except for the light patter of footfalls as they made their way across the hardwood floors of the hallway, followed by the faint creaking of a door opening to a bedroom.
A couple more footsteps before they again stopped. The woman in the bed felt a finger poking her in the middle of her back. She stirred and gave a groan as she rolled over to look at the face of the young child who was eager to greet her with the morning.
“Good morning, Jack,” she said groggily. “You should go back to sleep.”
“But it’s summer!” the seven-year-old cheered. “Aren’t you excited?”
“Summer means we don’t have to get up early. Go back to bed.”
“But I can’t sleep,” the boy said as he tried climbing into the bed with his mother. Although there didn’t appear to be enough space for him to fit, he managed to make the space, pushing in close to keep himself from falling off.
“Come on, Jack,” his mother muttered. “Go back to sleep.”
“Okay,” Jack agreed as he shifted his body to snuggle in closer.
“No, in your bed.”
“But I want to sleep with you.”
“Fine,” his mother relented. She shifted her body deeper into the bed to try to keep her son sliding onto the floor. She nudged her husband in the process, causing him to grunt before rolling over.
“Are you excited, Mommy?” Jack asked in a whisper.
“I’m excited to go back to sleep,” she answered.
“But it’s summer. That means no more school!”
“It should also mean that we get to sleep in late.”
“But the pool, Mom! The pool is open today.”
His mother opened her eyes fully for the first time, recognizing her attempts to fall back asleep were a lost cause. She hugged her child tightly, happy to have a kid who wanted her attention so badly, even if she wished it would happen at a time more suitable to a full-night’s rest.
“I’m excited, Mommy. Aren’t you excited?”
“But, Jacky, Mommy still has to work. I don’t get to go to the pool.”
“Oh, that’s sad.”
“Yeah, I guess it is.”
“What about tomorrow? Do you have to work tomorrow?”
“Yes, I have to work tomorrow.”
“And the next day?” he asked, suddenly shifting his body around to look his mother in her eyes.
“Yes, I have to work until Saturday.”
“And then can we go to the pool?”
“Yeah, sure, then we can go to the pool.”
“And then will you be excited?”
“Yes, and then I’ll be excited.”
“Me too, Mom. I’m excited.”
“Great,” his mother answered. “Now let’s get up and make some coffee.”
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