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Rise. And Shine.

Morning routines often include the following: the snooze button, coffee, news, showering, the paper, breakfast, choosing an outfit, packing a bag, grabbing keys and leaving. Just getting yourself ready can be pretty easy. I’ve got my routine down to a science and I relish it.


That is until I had a taste of another morning routine.

Last month I spent a week with my grandfather and every morning I got up before him to set out his pills, his bowl of cereal, his insulin shot. I put his cane by the door and his reading glasses in my bag, before waking him with a gentle touch. Then it was getting him another pair of socks, a different jacket, and finding his wallet. Eventually we’d be ready to leave. It was, I felt, a small morsel of what life would be like having a child.

Today I got an even better taste.

While home on Cape Cod this past weekend, I stayed an extra day to help my sister with the kids this morning. As a nursing student she had to be at the hospital by six, my brother-in-law on the road by seven, and the kids ready for the bus by eight. I was already downstairs when the kids appeared, rested and more easily accepting of kisses from a loving aunt. As I toasted bagels and sliced bananas, I delighted in watching Paige, almost 10 and Andrew, almost 7, prepare their own lunches. Scouring t

he snack cabinet, Andrew filled a Ziploc with fish crackers, while Paige put a few turkey slices in another. They filled water bottles and stuffed them into lunch packs. Since it was almost eight, we went outside to wait for the school bus. We played a little Simon Says before they ganged up to tickle me, but soon the bus arrived and they were gone, my morning once again my own.

Back in the car heading home to New York City and my easy, morning routines, it occurred to me it doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 92, getting ready for school, a doctor’s visit or work, your morning routine sets you up for the day. Like a well-balanced breakfast, an organized start is the first step towards making it a great one.

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