On the days when my husband is at the firestation, naturally I'm the one in charge. That is, if I don't let my oldest boss me around...but really, it's me. All me. Which means we're usually running just a hair, a smidgen, behind the clock.
Running late means that breakfast is sometimes rushed and if one thing is out of place, like a back pack, the entire morning becomes a throw your hands up in the air failure! So I try to avoid having anything like that happen, by making sure the darn back pack is where it's supposed to be the night before.
The other morning though, was different.
I went to bed earlier than everyone else the night before and just as expected, I woke to a little mess here and a little untidiness there. So, while my kids were shoveling Lucky Charms into their mouths, I cleaned up the mess. Of course, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was also throwing in a load of laundry and scrubbing away at a chocolate stain on my daughter's brand new pink shirt. Just like every other suburban mother in the world.
We missed the bus.
So I had to drive them.
No big deal, as I really avoid the bus stop like the plague. It's not that I don't approve of bus riding, because I do. I really, really do. But in case you haven't figured it out, I'm not a morning person and it takes an exponentially large amount of planning and effort (AND COFFEE) on my part to get myself and my kids ready for the day before their departure to school. Basically, I'd rather drive them to school in my cozy pants than actually put on make up and dress for the day to visit with the other moms at the bus stop.
[Nothing against you, bus stop moms]
So here I was, in my cozy pants (aka jammie pants, let's just call an apple an apple) driving my kids to school, my eyes still drowsy despite my morning clean up cardio and thoughts of climbing back into my bed until time for kindergarten pick up clouding my mind like a heavy haze. Oh yes, this was going to be a very good morning. No work. No husband. No kids.
All I could focus on was the prize, the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the school's drop off parking lot loop where I'd get my cup of tea, my book, and my bed - all to myself - for the next few hours.
I was so wrapped up in my own little version of Fantasy Island that I hardly noticed the kids.
There was my son, who had gotten (in only the past few months) within inches of me in height, helping his sister zip up her jacket. There was my daughter, who had cleaned her room without being asked the other day, with her hand upon his head - patting it gently and motherly. A smile passed between them and I tried not to let them see my eyes in the rearview mirror as the cars in front of me inched closer and closer to the drop off zone.
When it was our turn, I verbally scooted them out the door. "Have a great day you two," I said. "I love you more than the world."
"We love you more than the world too." They both answered in unison. A twin reply to a statement that has been said to them every morning for their respective eleven and six years - that's a lot of "I love yous."
And without prompting, or bribing, or any hinting whatsoever, my son took my daughters kindergarten-sized hand in his big fifth-grader hand and led her to the open school doors. She looked back at me over her shoulder, looking like the luckiest girl in the world, and smiled without showing her teeth while he held her hand fast and protectively, until she was safe inside.
It's not about having a clean house, paying bills, menu plans, a morning off, or crawling back into bed to steal a nap when the kids are in school. It's about that, right there.
That, is what it's all about.