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December 14, 2012 - Jennifer Brookens
We all have those mornings where we know we're starting off on the wrong foot, yet we keep stumbling down the path anyway... This Friday morning was one of those mornings. The kids and I were running behind schedule, I was yelling. One left her lights on up in her room, the other was losing it because he couldn't find his gloves. The gloves are nowhere to be found, out of time, gotta GO! The protest continues for the gloves, in the van, out the driveway, all I hear is, "I need my gloves!" I lose it. "I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU LEFT YOUR GLOVES," I snarled, knowing it was uncalled for but my patience had run out. Being late, I couldn't get into the traffic line to drop The Girl off, so I pull into a different parking lot. Sure enough, others follow, and now I'm the one clogging up traffic. "Hurry! MOVE!" I yelled at the little dawdler. I see the little bit of heartbreak on her face as she slams the van door and steps away from the vehicle. The last word she got to hear from me was "MOVE!" and not "I love you," like most days. I realized what a jerk move I'd made, but there were cars piled up behind me and I had to roll.
The boy is still muttering about his gloves, but he is more quiet about it now, as the ugly cloud with the thunderbolts still hovers over my head and mood. We get to the daycare drop-off, and there are his beloved gloves. All is well with him. The same can't be said for Mommy. I try to give him a hug and say, "I'm sorry I yelled. I love you," but he only stiffens at my embrace. I think I actually heard the jackass sound effect in the background, just like in the cartoons.
Guilty Mommy conscience in effect, I go to fixing what had set me off in the first place. The Girl's class is decorating cookies today, and I'd been asked at the last minute to supply two dozen. (Those who read about my cupcake saga last month know that my kitchen motto is, "I don't cook. I reheat.") It was off to the store to buy some sugar cookies and a bottle of sprinkles. I deliver them to school. The secretaries there are so used to seeing me buzz around that I hardly get a glimpse. I do the proper sign-in, grab a visitor's badge & deliver the cookies to The Girl's classroom. She looks delighted to see me. I give her a quickie hug and whisper "I love you." I try not to make a big display, because, well, she's at that age now. I hope she heard me, though.
Then as I'm walking back to the office, I see The Boy's preschool class assembling for the day. He runs to the window and presses his little nose against it, our hands go up. I can't resist, and I walk through to the other side for a hug. This time it is returned, and I get a smile. I explain I can't stay, and he says, "OK." I catch him watching me as I walk away and blow him a kiss. He blows one back. I feel like I've righted my wrong: one of my strongest beliefs as a mom is to never part with them without them knowing that I love them and make sure they are left feeling loved.
Back to the office, I settle into my work routine when I see a bulletin about a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. At first, it's just a teacher wounded and a dead gunman. Good, maybe the teacher stopped him, I thought. But later I see it was the worst-case scenario: innocent children gunned down. I feel sick. Horrified. A parent's worst nightmare. How many parents sent their kids off to school today, not knowing it would be their last time to say goodbye? Were there any other parents that had a short fuse today, whose last words to their child was, "HURRY UP!" or "I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU LEFT YOUR GLOVES!" So easily could have been the case... My heart breaks for those families facing this nightmare.
Obviously today, Someone was trying to tell me something. I really hate now that I let some morning bumblings get the best of me, but I'm glad I made the effort to make it up. But I think I still need to give my kids a few extra hugs tonight. In fact, I think my girl's class has some cookies they need help decorating this afternoon... And here's hoping I will remember this feeling next time I'm tempted to take my cherished loved ones for granted.
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