At 4:30 a.m. her alarm goes off. It’s a Blink182 song that wakes her, and usually me. If you have to wake up at 4:30 a.m., Blink182 is not a bad way.
She gets out of bed and goes to turn on the coffee maker. She makes enough for me to have two cups, black, and for her to have one with cream and sugar.
She then cooks breakfast. We get upwards of eight to 10 eggs a day from our hens, so breakfast is usually a dish featuring fresh eggs. She is one of the very few who make grits I can eat. There is her, my mother, and two Frazier’s gas stations.
I’m sure my mother’s sister can also make grits the way God intended. I don’t remember ever having her grits, but she has never cooked anything that didn’t taste good, so I feel safe in assuming.
Back to the protagonist of this story: she begins to wake the kids up. She starts out nice and calm, telling them it’s time to wake up for school. Being their father’s children, they don’t start to stir until a half hour later, when she is yelling and just this side of physically, and violently, removing them from their bed.
Before leaving for work, she lets Rascal (the dog) out and feeds Petunia (the barn cat).
Once she gets the kids to school and herself to work, she stands on her feet and does fairly physically demanding work for eight hours. Her reward at the end of the work day is getting any needed shopping done before picking the kids up from school and shuffling them home.
They get home, and she makes sure the kids tend to their chores. A task which may consume more energy than actually doing the chores herself.
It’s almost dinner time by this point. There are no “Hot Pockets” or “Hungry Man” meals in the Nix house. She cooks her meat and two sides on the stove or in the oven. The microwave does less work in the kitchen than the husband, and that’s saying something.
After dinner there are all the dishes that need to be washed. This is one of those jobs she never asks for help with. I guess we have messed up the dishes, be it accidental or intentional, enough to where she has decided it’s best to just do them herself, right the first time.
I was walking to the kitchen one time when I heard her say to our son: “Come on, even your dad knows better than to do that.” I don’t know what it was that I knew better, because I also knew better than to continue walking toward the kitchen. Whatever I wanted could wait. He was on his own in there.
I know her day is almost done when I hear her getting the coffee maker ready to go for the next morning since 4:30 a.m. comes early.
Of everything she does well, which is pretty much everything she does, there is one thing she is terrible at: math. She’s always saying how she is raising three children when we very clearly only have two. Oh well, no one is perfect.
My kids are extremely lucky to have the mother they have. Almost as lucky as me and my brothers.
I wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day. The one day we set aside 24 hours to make up for 364 days of taking them for granted.
(Toby Nix is a writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff living in Newnan.)