how can we possibly be out of milk?
i run to the grocery store at least 17 times a week. we should absolutely never be out of milk. years ago, my husband made a rule.a plan.a policy: if ever we step foot in the grocery store we must pick up a gallon of milk. no matter what. no exceptions. considering the amount of times my feet cross the threshold of our local market i should have a reserve of at least a dozen gallons in my garage fridge at all times. but this morning, we were out of milk. and waffles. and the dog had eaten the bag of bagels the day prior. that was the start of our day: no milk. no waffles. no bagels. and a potentially sick dog.
dropping my children at carpool, the 8 year old boy turned back to me, tears in his green eyes. "please don't be late to pick me up today, mom." he waivered, clutched the door handle, and then closed it quiet. i watched the sad slump of him join the stream of school children. he threw one last look over his shoulder for emphasis causing a hard swallow deep in me. i drove away in my pajamas and slippers and frizzy hair and thought, are you kidding me? what have i done to cause this deep sense of insecurity in my boy so young? it's not like we ever left him at church after a christmas eve service...that was his older brother. we've hardly ever left this one. by the time he came along we had older, more careful, children, helpful in their prompting to remember everyone. we've hardly left or lost a child in recent years. but i drove away low. clutching my cold morning coffee as the youngest whined in the backseat for her lovey and juice. we had left both on the counter at home in our hasty departure. and she was left to stare out the window, thirsty and lovey-less.
later that morning, the theme of "left behind" continued steady and strong. while sitting in a meeting, a text popped up on my phone: "i left my lunch in dad's car." this from the oldest girl. almost 16 and in high school and my immediate thought, we'll that's just too bad sister...this one's your deal. wow. i was somewhat surprised by the defensive thoughts which bubbled up to the surface of my sympathy. i mean, i truly was sorry for her. she faced a long day at school and a late practice and, remember, we had had very little breakfast available in our home that morning. but there was nothing to be done. i very rarely helicopter in and rescue my children. i am not much of a swooper. it not only goes against my grain, but it is not remotely possible with five of them. my rescue helicopter is officially on overload these days. i texted her back, "so sorry honey."
it was 1:30 and i made the preschool pick up on time. i'd just like to note i was there with the sign in the car window and plenty of gas in my vehicle. (not always the case). i had a smile for the teacher and the lovey and juice cup waiting for that thirsty preschooler. all of a sudden, i felt quite accomplished. look how well i was doing. the day seemed redeemed, i was back on my game. an hour later we headed for the 3pm pick up. remember the 8 year old's tears? i was determined to be there not just on time, but early. it took everything in me, but i made it. he looked absolutely shocked to see his little sister and me standing curbside. gone were his mom's slippers and pjs and frizzy hair. here was his mother, early and pretending easy efficiency. no biggie - i can do this. be early, be on time, and occasionally wear heels and lipstick. how hard can it be?
the rest of the day didn't go quite so well. my facade fell apart when a neighbor, with a need, stopped by unexpectedly. i ended up late getting middle girl from her volleyball practice at 5pm. and strangely enough, rick was even later picking up oldest girl from her practice (that had nothing to do with me, by the way). i won't go into the details...but there truly were good reasons and unavoidable situations. it is just what happens in our home. it is called life. i am not looking for a way to excuse tardiness or justify the possible lack of planning, but is it not okay for our children to sometimes have to wait a little? i am thinking a little neglect is not particularly a bad thing for these well fed, well loved and well cared for children.
we live in a culture which allows little girls to walk around wearing t-shirts advertising, it's all about me. we call it cute and yet wonder when our kids can't share or serve or wait for something. what are we doing when we make our kids the absolute center? don't get me wrong, i adore my children, but i also do not want them thinking anybody, including their mother, rotates around them. this doesn't mean i don't take my motherhood seriously. i consider it my highest calling. i do. but in our home, we are a team. we work together and help each other. there are no superstars or MVPs. (i think they all are pretty special). but everyone is expected to do his or her part. everyone is expected to help themselves and help each other. it is what we do. and sometimes the team captain or coach or whatever you want to call me, needs help too. she needs grace...needs a little extra wiggle room and somedays (like today), she needs a lot.