II HATE ALARM CLOCKS.That incessant ticking drives me nuts. And so September 11, 2001, began like any other morning in the McEnroe household, with my seven A.M. call from 540-WAKE. I quickly hung up the phone, let my wife Patty sleep, and dragged myself out of bed to go rouse five of my six children-Ava, the baby of the family at two, was still too young to be part of this daily ritual. We live at the top of a big apartment building on Central Park West, in what I happen to believe is the best apartment in the most beautiful building in New York City. I think about that, appreciate that, every day. Our house is the top four floors; the kids' rooms are on floors one, two, and three. I smiled as I moved from room to room, mussing hair, scratching backs, patting cheeks. And as my kids fought for that extra minute or two of sleep before the reality of a school day set in, memories of my own boyhood bubbled up. In my mind's eye, I was fifteen again, just embarking on my four years at the Trinity School on Manhattan's Upper West Side. My mother was struggling to get me out of bed in my upstairs room at 255 Manor Road, Douglaston, Queens, enduring an early-morning grumpiness-sorry, Mom!-caused by the prospect of a commute my own kids couldn't even begin to imagine. First came the fifteen-minute walk to the Douglaston train station-a walk I made every morning until the glorious day I turned seventeen and finally got my driver's license. Then I'd catch the 7:20 train, show the conductor my monthly pass, and settle in for the thirty-minute ride to Penn Station in Manhattan. For you out-of-towners, Penn Station is directly under Madison Square Garden, which was a frequent destination for me as a kid: the home of my beloved Knicks and Rangers; the site of the first rock concert I ever attended (Grand Funk Railroad!); as well as of one of the highlights of my adolescence, the New York stop of Led Zeppelin's 1975 world tour. Some of my greatest tennis triumphs, both in singles and doubles, would also take place there just a few years later, in the Masters tournament, just after Christmas. Getting off the train, I'd walk through the crowded tunnels and catch the subway-the Seventh Avenue IRT, number 2 or 3 express-for the twenty-minute ride to the Upper West Side. Sometimes I'd be traveling with John Ryerson, another Trinity student who commuted from Douglaston, and occasionally John and I would hook up with another classmate, Steven Weitzmann. I loved the subway. I still do. Being clumped in with masses of my fellow citizens has never bothered me a bit: I'm a New Yorker, after all, through and through, and getting up close (if not personal) is just part of the gig. For another thing, while I get motion sickness reading in a car, the subway doesn't affect me the same way (not that John and Steven and I did a lot of reading down there; I recall a number of paper-clip fights-sorry, IRT passengers of 1974!). I've also always enjoyed that feeling of rocking and rolling through the dark-it's comforting, in a way that's hard to describe. I'd get off the subway at 96th Street, climb the steps up to Broadway, with its honking taxi horns and endless street life, and walk the five blocks down to Trinity, at 139 West 91st, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues-the very same place to which I now drive Ruby, Kevin, Sean, Emily, and Anna every morning after breakfast. It's funny-our apartment isn't much more than a half-mile from Trinity, yet despite (or maybe because of) my own arduous commute as a boy, I like to drive them to school. I enjoy having the extra time with them, and I admit it-I like to indulge my children a little. Can you blame me? Having me for a father makes their lives both easy and difficult at the same time, and it's harder than I can tell you to strike exactly the right balance. I want my kids to be happy and secure and comfortable, to have everythMcEnroe, John is the author of 'You Cannot Be Serious' with ISBN 9780399148583 and ISBN 0399148582.