It has taken me a while to get here but I have finally come to grips with the fact that I will never win a mother-of-the-year award due to the fact that I am a terrible parent on school mornings. I will never allow a hidden camera inside my house because I would be mortified to watch myself fall apart day after day after day. And I do promise myself every single morning that I will do better. But the planets just don’t seem to align on this one and I wallow in self-loathing as soon as the school bell rings and the last of my cherubs is turned over to the school system for six hours.
The coach in me has tried to reframe, reset, shift perspective and look on the bright side of these abhorrent mornings. Unfortunately, I simply cannot dig deep enough to find the enthusiasm required to get three profoundly reluctant children out of bed, dressed, fed and with school lunches in hand before 8:30 in the morning. And it’s not just what needs to happen before they walk out the door to their respective schools, it’s also the bickering, complaining, feet-dragging, the last minute trip forms and lost library books that make me feel like I am perilously close to blowing a gasket…every single morning!
And, seriously…how does one shoe go missing while we are sleeping? One shoe! Are there nasty little nighttime gremlins that sneak in and sabotage the daily trip out the door? One shoe was what drove me over the cliffs of insanity this morning!
I always try very hard to stop yelling before the front door opens so that the neighbours don’t wonder about the raving lunatic emerging from my house that looks remarkably like Katie Geoghegan. Some mornings the neighbours get the same earful my kids are getting and I think…oh man, my sun-shiny reputation is lost on yet another neighbour!
It was cold this morning and it had snowed last night. I felt a little chilly even in the house and wasn’t sure I felt like braving the elements for our 15 minute walk to school. My warm family van was whispering enticingly from its parking spot on the street; ‘c’mon Katie, you know you want to…why resist?’ And just as I was beginning to cave, I caught a glimpse of the sun sparkling off the fresh snow and I was lured into the winter wonderland.
Even after my worst mornings with the kids I always feel better by the time Zach and I get to the end of our block. This morning the combination of fresh snow and brilliant sun lifted my mood immediately. I am a die-hard winter lover and this morning was picture postcard perfect!
As Zach and I walked through the park on the last leg of our school journey, we had fun making footprints in the beautiful clean slate of fresh snow. We talked about how much fun it was to have ‘first tracks’ and we agreed on our unqualified love of winter.
To my relief, we were only a few minutes late for school. I gave Zach a rushed kiss and hug and felt the almost painful tug of goodbye that I seem to feel each morning I drop him at school. It is a funny mixture of homesickness and a love so deep it actually makes my heart hurt.
As I made my way back through the park I was enchanted to retrace the journey that Zach and I had made together only moments before. His little footprints looked so cute, so random and so playful. It was as if the footprints he left behind for me assured me that, even though he had lost a shoe and I had lost my temper, all was forgotten.
I stopped for a moment and breathed in the magic of our first tracks together. And as I marveled at the complexity of family and of love, I knew for certain that those footprints would remain on my heart for the rest of my days.