I started a cute post last night about all of my back to school preparations. I was so proud of my new allowance jar system and the laminated morning lists I had made--both to reduce Mommy nagging and teach responsibility. Backpacks and shoes were all lined up in my new mudroom. I even ironed uniforms (a hot dryer is our usual MO) and had them hanging in bedrooms ready to wear. No more Unglued Mama mornings for me! It was going to be smooth as silk.
I got up early (not my forte) and made muffins, sausage and scrambled eggs when my husband left for work. Susie Homemaker was in the house! How could it not be an awesome first day? My kids were going to look crisp, have full tummies and be loved up and confident for their first day.
And then, real life entered the picture.
My moodiest child came downstairs under a dark cloud. I chirped "Good morning!" and was greeted with a growl. He took one look at breakfast and started crying. Awesome. I will spare you the details of what transpired over the next few minutes, but he was ultimately sent back up to his room to restart his day with a different attitude. One child crying by 6:45am. Not exactly what I'd planned.
We hustled and bustled through bed making, hair grooming and getting our acts together as the clock ticked towards 7:35. As we were all heading for the back door as scheduled, K was still in sock feet.
"Where are you shoes?"
"I don't know...I've looked everywhere and can't find them." Her lip quivered. Crying child #2 by 7:30. I was on a roll!
As we were buckling in R decided the snack he packed yesterday was absolutely not what he wanted today and tearfully begged to go back inside the locked house and trade it. I had to make a choice between 'insuring' he was happy/had a smooth start and sticking to my guns about choices and responsibility. This was not in my plan!!
When we got to school P realized his water bottle had made it to his mud room locker, but not to his backpack. And despite all of my planning, traffic and other snags had us running into school as the bell rang. I snapped one photo...
They darted into their rooms. I didn't get to tell them how much I loved them. I didn't even get a hug. They were off.
To top things off, as we walked back to the car, I was snippy with my husband--who had pushed back his cases, gone in extra early and rearranged his day to be present. Within the safety of our car, I cried an ugly cry. I couldn't even explain why, but I was overwhelmed with disappointment. Despite my preparations, we'd had a bumpy start. I had such high expectations, but wound up feeling like a Grade A Mommy failure. I wanted a fairy tale morning and I got real life.
But you know that the great thing about my real life is? I have a loving husband who sat and listened to me sob before reminding me of wise truth. He pointed out that the kids didn't have nearly the morning I did. They were tucked away in their classrooms with their friends and great teachers. They were excited to be wearing new tennis shoes and learning all the ropes of being a 2nd grader. They KNOW they are loved. They are learning responsibility the way 8 year olds learn, by making mistakes and trying again the next day. He concluded by assuring me they were NOT rehashing the morning beating themselves up over lost shoes and being 10 minutes behind schedule.
This is one day. Godwilling, we have hundreds more this year....some will be fantastic and most will be imperfect. This is life.
I looked across at him and through my tears said, "Why are you so loving, calm and wise when you are married to such a mess?"
He grinned and teasingly said, "Because we'd be in real trouble if we both went crazy."
I came home to a cup of coffee, a quiet house desperately in need of cleaning, one more good cry, humble prayer and a couple of authentic phone chats with women I love. Real life is unpredictable--it's why real community and real faith are essential. Let's not forget to continue encouraging one another to keep our focus on what really matters--the marathon--rather than becoming defeated over a few stumbles along the way. The measure of a Mom...of any person, really...is not one chaotic morning.
Thank you, Lord, for that!
UPDATED after school:
As predicted, they got in the car and unanimously answered my daily questions-- the best part was 'everything' and the worst part was 'nothing.'
I am pretty sure Mom learned the most of all today.