It could’ve rained today; heck, it could’ve hailed. We could’ve missed the bus. Both children could’ve come home in tears and despair. It wouldn’t have mattered. My day was perfect by 6:30 this morning.
Perfection crept into my room at 6:15 and slipped under the covers beside me, all knees and elbows and flyaway hair. While Monkey has only recently stopped greeting me this way every single morning, I couldn’t tell you the last time Chickadee did so. She is rarely up first, for one thing. For another, she’s a little too old and cool to be seeking out a morning snuggle… usually.
Utter perfection by 6:30. I wrapped my arms around her and we whispered and giggled together in the early morning light. I finally chased her into the shower with a combination of empty threats and tickling, and then missed her immediately.
Everything went off without a hitch, except that I realized about an hour after they left that I somehow managed to leave the juice boxes out of their lunches. Oops! (I’d tossed them into the freezer for extra coldness, then forgot they were in there. Smooth.) First I reasoned that they’d be fine, then guilt got the better of me and I drove across town to school. With two juice boxes. And a big sign that says “My children are spoiled and I clearly have nothing better to do with my time.”
And in light of how both of them had been running away from me all morning, it was either a REALLY nice or REALLY stupid thing for me to do, too. When the bus pulled up, Chickadee darted onto it before I could even say goodbye. I managed to catch her and wish her a good day and tell her I loved her (“Mama,” she communicated to me telepathically, while rolling her eyes, “You are SO EMBARRASSING”). Monkey was, at this point, looking as though he’d maybe changed his mind about the bus and the big school and all of that. But a quick kiss and a squeeze from me was enough to perk him up. He replied that he loved me—he is still young enough and enough of a Mama’s boy not to know that was supposed to be mortifying—and hopped onto the bus.
After they left, I went and had a meeting with the PTA president. We had important PTA business to attend to. It involved mochas and toasting our survival of the summer. What? You don’t do that, at your school? Pity.
Then I ran the juice boxes over to school, and got my car inspected (hello, end of the month! may I have a sticker, pretty please?) and returned home.
And lo, it was quiet at home. It was peaceful at home! I worked for hours without interruption. I ate chips directly from the bag and did not have to share. My chair did not do a mysterious boogie across the room each time I got up and left my desk for a minute. It was quite wonderful.
And the VERY MOST AMAZING PART is that with that time to sit down and focus—and not have to break up squabbling or ask why we’re playing in the sink or where are you going with THAT—by the time they got off the bus this afternoon, I was able to turn off the computer and not return to work (sans guilt) until after they went to bed. All summer I feel like I’ve been surgically attached to the computer, because it turns out that it takes a LOT LONGER to get anything done when you’re interrupted every 15 seconds. Who knew?
So the kids came inside and ate snacks and told me the highlights of their day (Chickadee: We are learning CURSIVE!) (Monkey: I didn’t have time to finish my lunch. Can I eat it now?) and I was the picture of loving attention. If Norman Rockwell were alive, he totally would’ve come into my kitchen and painted me and the kids this afternoon. It was everything I have always wanted for our little family, really.
Then, just before soccer practice, I thought I should probably check the weather. So I turned on the computer and did that, and discovered I had email from Monkey’s teacher. Just a quick note to let me know that at one point he had become frustrated and opted to hide under the table. And scream.
“Hey, buddy, funny thing. I got some email from your teacher. Any idea what that might be about?”
Monkey took a break from his demanding schedule of shoving food around on his plate (Chickadee and I were long since finished) and gave me the uh-oh look. “I… uhhhh… I cried,” he admitted.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. But I don’t think she would mail me just because you CRIED, do you? Wanna tell me the rest?”
He did, eventually. And he felt he was completely blameless, natch. We did have a talk about it. I can’t decide whether to chalk it up to the stress of the day or if a meltdown of that proportion before he’s even comfortable means that we’re in for a landmark year (and not in a good way). Time will tell, I suppose.
But as we laid out their clothes for tomorrow, when I asked if they thought they really wanted to go back—maybe it was no fun, and they’d rather just stay home?—they both vehemently insisted that they wanted to return.
Which is a good thing, because my nice, quiet, productive day followed by the ability to really attend to and enjoy them could prove addictive.
Also, I don’t want to share the chips.