Five years ago
5:15 AM. The alarm clock rings, and I pry my eyes open with considerable difficulty. I quickly dress, grab a bite to eat, take my bag with all my school things and go out. It's around 6 AM when I do, and if it's winter, it's still dark outside, not to mention chilly. I have no time to waste, however; I can't miss the 6:05 bus, which will take me to university. While I'm on the bus, I take the opportunity to catch on some praying and reading. I get off the bus around 7, and after a pleasant walk, around 7:30, I'm at my destination.
The campus is beautiful and green, and trees are casting long shadows in the golden glow of the rising sun. I walk slowly, savoring the smells and sounds of the morning, occasionally stopping to pet one of the campus cats. I get inside the lecture hall. Classes start at 8:15, so there is still time for me to do some homework or a bit of revision.
Classes begin. There are plenty of interesting things to learn, but alas, last night I went to bed too late, and the night before it, and before... chronic lack of sleep is beginning to take effect, and I fall into slumber sometime around 9 AM. I wake a few minutes later and try to keep myself from dozing off again. At the 10:00 break, I go to the coffee machine and buy myself a mocha. Around midday, I have lunch with a friend. Then I have two free hours until lectures begin again; I use the time to work on a project that is to be handed in at the end of term. In the library, I meet some more friends, and we talk a bit about the upcoming examinations.
16:00. I'm tired, so it's a good thing to have another free hour to work lounge around. Still, I'd love to go home, but today I have another class between 17:00 and 20:00 PM. It's only once a week, but it always makes for a LONG day.
21:30: I finally make it back home and put my feet up. I should probably go to sleep right away, because tomorrow I have another long commute and early class, but somehow I'm incapable of doing that. I still need some time for myself, to read or do something relaxing before going to bed. I close my eyes around midnight, and that's a good time.
I get up to see shafts of early sunlight where the curtain is pulled back. I don't know exactly what time it is, but I can make a good estimate - around 6:30, and I need to hurry if I want to finish my chores before it's too hot.
I grab a cup of coffee; the girls are already up, and I pour some milk for them. Those who need help with potty get it. I put in a load of laundry in the washing machine and go out. The day is beautiful, the air is clear, and there is a lot of work to be done. Upon seeing me, the chickens, the goats and the dog immediately begin calling out, each wanting to be the first to have breakfast. I feed the animals and head back inside, to make breakfast for us. Sliced bread is piled high on a plate before me as I make toast. I hadn't packed my husband's lunch yesterday, so I do it now.
My husband is off to work and we finish breakfast, and the washing is ready to hang out by this time. I do that, then head back outside, to give the chickens some fresh water and take care of the plants. The girls are occupied drawing with their new pastel colors. Shira gets up and goes forward to feed treats and pet one of the goats.
I change the bedding, wash the dishes, make lunch, start making dinner. The girls splash in a tub outside, then go to make a train out of all the cushions in the living room. After we have lunch, I fold the laundry and put it away, and then it's story time and nap time, and I have a bit of leisure for my own projects, catching up with friends online, or checking some things my husband wanted me to research.
Afternoon. We have a snack, some more chores (feed the animals again, perhaps a bit of cleaning, finish making dinner), then a walk. We enjoy a visit to the playground or with some friends, while the sun is beginning to set over another long day, full of simple but busy activities. I might do some crochet or hand sewing while I watch over the girls, and sometimes they approach me to "help", having a hands-on lesson without being aware of it. Later, we head home to have dinner, and then it's bath time, story time again, and bed time.
I finish up the dishes, clean the kitchen and perhaps mop the floor. Then I have some quiet time to relax with a good book, talk to my husband, have a nice shower, and then off to bed. There are so many things I would still like to do, but I'm tired and my eyes are closing even though I never told them to... I surrender to the sweetest of sleep.
Life is so unexpected. It's so interesting. We go along and change with it, and we know G-d is with us on the way. I am thankful for the changes in my life, and in myself; thankful for them to include my dreams of a family and a simple, quiet life.