Jenny Pilon lives in Bedford with her 6-year-old daughter, Kysa. The divorced single mom is an adjunct professor in the visual arts at North Lake College and Tarrant County College, and she also works in the events department at the Four Seasons in Las Colinas.
5:40AM The clock radio plays the local classical station, and I hit snooze. My yoga teacher Joseph wakes up everyday at 5am, but it’s just not in me.
5:50AM I lift myself up and go into the kitchen to heat water for my jasmine green tea, light up a stick of incense and begin my yoga practice.
6:20AM After yoga, I begin my meditation. This has become an important part of my day — on the days that I don’t partake in this ritual, I find I have more anxiety, and my mind goes a mile a minute.
6:45AM I prepare breakfast for Kysa. We have fresh fruit, orange-mango juice, vitamins, and a pastry that I had baked in large quantities and stored in the fridge.
7AM I go up to Kysa’s room to wake her up. But first, just for a moment, I stop to watch her sleeping peacefully. I still can’t believe this little person is in my life. She is as much of a morning person as I am. She wants to cuddle and snooze, but we have to get moving so we will be on time. I help Kysa get to the table and let her get herself situated. Meanwhile, I go to the bathroom, take a shower and get dressed.
7:15AM Time to make Kysa’a lunch, since I didn’t have the foresight to prepare it last night.
7:20AM I get Kysa’s clothes together, help her get dressed and fix her hair, and tell her to put her shoes on and brush her teeth. I try to make my hair and makeup presentable, and before I know it, it’s 7:40.
7:40AM I ask Kysa if she has her shoes on while I prepare my tea and put some almond mix in a plastic container before we leave.
7:45AM As I stand by the door ready to go, I tell Kysa to put on her shoes, or I’m going to leave without her. She jumps out of her chair and proclaims, “Mommy, I have to ask you a question!” She gets her shoes on and we’re out the door.
7:55AM I park near her school and we walk across the street to the entrance. I put her backpack on her and hand over her lunchbox, then I kneel down, kiss her on the cheek and tell her to have a great day. She begins to walk away but turns around and waves to me, saying, “Bye Mama!” I used to feel empty inside when I would walk back to my truck, but I suppose I’ve gotten used to leaving her.
8AM I get back into my truck and head to Irving to teach two art appreciation classes at North Lake College.
8:45AM I arrive at North Lake and head toward the adjunct office. I check my email, post new discussion boards for online homework and grade last week’s discussion boards.
9:15AM In the classroom, I greet my students, answer questions and present today’s PowerPoint. I’m very passionate about art and its impact on the world, and I love when my students get to be involved in class discussions.
12:25PM After class, I finish up with the students who have questions and concerns, or just want to share ideas. Then I take advantage of the beautiful campus and walk around the lake while listening to music. There is a lovely wooded area with a bridge and some benches — I love to enjoy this small bit of nature and detach from all the tasks of the day.
1:15PM I head back to the adjunct office to follow up on emails and research activities at my favorite art museums in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for my students to visit for extra credit.
2:15PM I head to Kysa’s school to pick her up and head home.
3:10PM At home, I let Kysa veg out on her iPad for a bit. Tonight there is an event at the Four Seasons, so I hop in the shower and get ready for the sitter to come over.
3:55PM Judy knocks on the door, and I let Kysa answer it. Judy is Kysa’s favorite sitter; she has been watching Kysa since my daughter was 6 months old and is like family to us. Kysa opens the door and screams, “Judy!” I give Judy the info for tonight on dinner, homework, bathtime and bedtime before I head back to Irving.
4:30PM When I get to the hotel, I change into my uniform and head to a shift meeting. We get the specifics about the event and which person is assigned to each task, and then we get to work. It all happens like clockwork. Most of the servers have worked in the department for 10 or more years, and some spend more time with each other than with their families. The people at the Four Seasons are like family to me, and for the most part we all work well together.
10:30PM I’m home. I thank Judy and get details on her evening, and then she’s on her way. I wash my face, brush my teeth, check on Kysa and think about how much strength and bravery is in this little person. When my head hits the pillow, I reflect on all the people in my life who love and support me and send grateful thoughts out to all of them.