I have one main goal each morning: to make it to 8:00 am (when school starts) without getting sucked in to any too unpleasant altercations with my children. This is no easy task, mind you. See, none of us is at our best before 7:00 am, and there is one main bathroom we're all sharing. On a Monday morning especially, sock seams feel funny and tennis shoes misplace themselves. Monday morning bickering can drive this mother up a wall. "It's time to go. It's time to go. It's time to go." I repeat, increasing the volume with each delivery. Jackets, backpacks, lunches, homework, flute, trumpet, play scripts - oh mercy, there is so much to remember.
7: 50 am: We are flustered but in the van, thank goodness. I overlook the apple cores and broken crayons at our feet - gross. Breath in, breath out. I am choosing my battles, choosing my battles carefully. "O Heavenly King," I begin singing, and the kids, for the most part, join in. "O Comforter, O Spirit of Truth..." Our prayers are brief but crucial, especially for me and my urgent ambition to send my children off into this day feeling loved, supported, and hopefully, hopefully, inspired to be a healing presence in their classrooms instead of a negative or ambivalent one. Those humble morning car prayers help me remember what the point is, and hopefully, hopefully are planting seeds in the souls of my beloveds.
8:05 am: I grab my eldest's hand and give it a quick squeeze. He'll not be kissing me goodbye, of course, so we express our affection for one another this way - small, discreet, but genuine. It is my turn to pull up to the curb where a teacher is waiting to open our van's side door (now she sees the apple cores and broken crayons - gross. I've been outed as a frazzled mama). "Do you have your backpacks? Your lunches?" I ask again. They do (whew). Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, for my younger three. "Have a wonderful day!" I tell them, in the most cheerful voice I can muster at that hour. They leave smiling.
Even if I accomplish not one thing else today, I can still hold on to that - to the deep satisfaction of knowing that, this morning, my sons and daughters greeted their school day free of my emotional baggage, free of residual anger or sadness from a morning argument or misunderstanding. This morning, my children were free to be carefree, as children should be. That power I have as a mother, to make or break my kids' days with but a word, a look, should never ever be taken lightly.
I am celebrating this small victory. I have to purposefully celebrate the small victories. The small victories are what give meaning to the every day. And I am praying for an afternoon and evening with my family I can feel good about, and hopefully, hopefully, even cherish.