by Stephanie Crismariu
Were you ever so absurdly hassled you wanted to curl into a ball and sleep it away? In my family, it happens to everyone on Sunday mornings.
My mother usually wakes up first to begin getting breakfast ready: on Sunday mornings, scrambled eggs with buttered toast. She interrupts herself midway to make sure we all wake up and get out of bed. The first time she visits my room, she knocks on the door and waits until I am sitting up. I sit up in pretense that I am ready to get out of bed, but my eyes are only able to stay open until she leaves my room, when I plop back into bed and continue my sleep. I hear her go from room to room knocking on doors, telling us to get out of bed, then she runs back to the kitchen as she begins smelling something burning, most likely the eggs she left cooking on the stovetop. It usually takes another two visits from our mother (who is increasingly getting annoyed with each visit) by the time everyone is finally awake and slowly dragging themselves out of bed. Some of us go to the bathroom to wash up while others stretch and yawn, trying to remember what day it is. Those of us who are up to it, might even begin to get dressed. Because we are a large family of ten, we are accustomed to ringing a small bell at mealtimes; once the bell is heard, everyone knows to get to the table for our next meal. In contrast with its small size, this little bell has a large role in our home and is highly treasured as it is our souvenir from our trip to Romania.
My mother does not usually have the patience to wait until we are all at the table, so once at least half of us are in the kitchen, one of us prays for the meal, and we sit down listening to the whines and complaints of my younger sister who doesn’t like eggs. She ends up sulkily picking at her toast until she leaves. At one point during our meal, I realize we must look bizarre. Some of us stand around the table with our dress shirts and pajama pants on, while others are in their bathrobes with half-completed hairstyles. We come and go from the table at our convenience until one of my parents bring us to the realization that we will be late. The whole family then rushes at top speed, leaving the table and kitchen in complete havoc. Everyone begins to fly around with bits of toast in their hand, searching for their lost socks or brushing out their morning tangles.
Some of us (the girls especially) stare stressfully at our closets trying to mentally prepare an appropriate outfit. The younger boys, not realizing or caring that we are late, play pillow fights while our mother tries to calm them down and pull their clothes on. When our father calls out at everyone to get ready as he shaves and dresses, we know we are beginning to be seriously late. My poor mother sprints from one room to another making sure everyone gets dressed properly. The house is left a complete mess as everyone runs around picking up their last few things such as scarves, purses, Bibles, and snacks for the little kids.
When we finally get into the car, usually some of our younger siblings end up arguing about something petty, and over their noise, my mom has to make her voice heard, lecturing us that next time, we have to wake up earlier and be more organized throughout the morning. This is our resolution every week, but the routine never changes for us. These mornings are some of the most chaotic times in our family, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.