Teenagers have conversations? Teenagers eat breakfast? And it’s the highlight of my day? Yep. But I have to work really hard to see it most days

I have two teenage daughters, ages 14 and 13. Yeah, I know. That’s a lot of drama in my life. And I need to state clearly for the record that I hate mornings as much as they do. I work nights so getting up at 5:44 to get them out the door is brutal. But I do it because it’s actually my favorite time of the day. (Ugh. I never thought I’d say that.) I still hate getting up, but in that crazy 64 minutes between alarm blaring and the bus pulling up, a lot of great stuff happens!

1 | They’re sleepy and their guard is down.

There’s something about the way their faces are relaxed or not yet steeled for the day; I can sometimes see my little girl in a nose wrinkle or an old familiar movement or look. My little sweet three- and four-year-old girls are back for just a moment – mostly in the early mornings.

2 | The slate is pretty clean.

Their sister bond is strongest before they’ve had time to annoy each other. They are connected to each other and it shows most in those early morning moments. There’s a familiarity and comfort that they feel. I like to think they get a helpful dose of family before they head out to face the incredible dramas of teenage life.

3 | Every once in a while they do each other’s hair.

When this happens, they’re talking and touching each other in a nurturing way – not dodging a thrown item, knocking each other over, shoving, hitting, or grabbing. It’s a good kind of physical contact. They mostly insult each other’s hair – in pretty amazingly mean ways – but sometimes they do each other’s hair and that makes me smile.

4 | They talk about mutual friends and classmates.

They make observations and share interactions with each other. I sip my coffee and act casual, but I hear their impressions, thoughts, attitudes and observations about others. I hear some juicy stuff, but I mostly get a read on what kind of human beings they are growing into.

5 | They’re in a hurry, and in that rush and hustle, they need me.

Not so much in an, “I can’t let go,” kind of way, but in a, “We’re a family and we work together,” kind of way. They need a check written, or a notebook signed, or to know if we have another gallon of milk, but they also need a steady, solid presence in their morning to let them know that no matter what happens the rest of the day, they are loved and cared for. In the early mornings, they let me show them that. They let me love them and don’t fight me every step of the way.

6 | I know it will be over in a blink.

They’re growing up quickly and I can almost count the number of regular early morning breakfasts we have left to share, so I’m bound and determined to be up and sipping coffee. I will continue to make them change clothes when their outfits barely cover their bodies (even though they look at me like I’m either dumb as rocks or straight up crazy); I will referee the rude and uncalled-for grumpy comments to each other (and to me, occasionally); I will offer food and drink that will be rejected for unpredictable reasons; and I will keep looking for the rare, delightful moments amid the chaos.