I wake at the same time every morning. Shortly before the boy, but still too early for the hour to be considered decent. I lie in bed staring at the dark room, trying to decide what to do. Weighing my options. Contemplating if it is worth it. Figuring out how badly I need to pee.
The bathroom is down the hall, past the room where the girl and boy sleep. Close and yet much too far away. At this hour the boy, always a light sleeper, is easily awoken. All it takes is some poorly chosen footsteps on the wooden floor boards of this old house and his day has begun. And so has ours.
Most mornings I can't resist. I pull the covers off my warm body and cringe at the cool air that surrounds me once I stand. I rub my eyes and struggle to become alert. I brace myself, cross my fingers and say a little prayer as I start down the hall.
There is a secret, discovered through trial and error, but I will share it with you. Like a rock climber scaling the craggy cliffs high above a torrental sea, you must cling to the railing for dear life. On your tip toes, place each foot snuglly against the railing, lowering it slowly. Brace your body weight on the top of the railing, distributing the weight evenly between the wodden banister and the floor. Stretch your legs as wide as possible in order to minimize the number of steps you take. Remain alert on your return journey because any cockiness can result in morning cries on the otherside on the door.
And always, always brace yourself, cross your fingers and say a little prayer.