I rolled out of bed Monday morning... Struggling to keep my eyes open, I dragged my feet through our living room... the babies toys scattered across the floor. I could hear the floor under my feet begging for a good sweep & moppin'... Eh. I'll get to it later. Stepping over the baby gate and tumbling into the kitchen, I cringe at the sight of dishes piled high in the sink. Last nights dinner still sitting on the stove. I storm into the kids room... pull their blankets off and demand that they wake up and put their uniforms on. I leave their room, backtracking my way back to my bed and diving face first into my pillow. Being a stay-at-home mom doesn't make a Monday any less pleasant. I fall back to sleep, wake up 2 minutes before I need to leave the house, jump into a pair of my fiancees sweats, load the kids in the van and I'm off. Aggravated and sick of this grey, cold, wet Connecticut weather. On our way to school, my daughter and I argue about the Science project she's slacking off on. We get to school and as she opens the door to step out of the van, I called after her. "I love you so much. Give me a hug..." She looks at me and smiles and hugs me tight before she takes off. Middle school already. Where did the time go?
My son gets dropped off next. It's almost time for him to line up with his classroom. This morning they're gathering in the cafeteria. I hug him and kiss him goodbye and tell him that I love him very much. He tells me he loves me too.. more than once. He is after all, mommas baby. He gets out and I watch as he walks up to the school. The principal opens the door for him and I see my son disappear safely inside. Or so, I like to believe. I decide to wait a while... stressed. Pensive. Shocked. In disbelief. This morning all of the focus on every radio station is on Newtown. On the Sandy Hook "massacre"... I have to shake off the thoughts.
I look up to see my son running as fast as he possibly could to the van. He bursts through the passenger door... "MOM! The M&M's for the ginger bread house! I was supposed to bring them in today! If I don't I won't be able to make them with the rest of the class!"
DAMN IT!!! I told him to remind me over the weekend. I promised I'd get them. It completely slipped my mind. Ugh! I look at the time... 8:20... we have 10 minutes. I have him run back into the school to get his book bag and jacket.. (another 3 minutes pass.) Shit. HURRY UP. He jumps in the car and we stop at the CVS nearby... 8:37... he's late. As I park the car I realize... I left my purse at home. FUCK! I look at him and tell him, "I'm sorry but I'm not gonna go ALL the way home and back HERE to then go back to school. You're already late!"
I watch this big 9 year old boy fall apart in tears. The water works and the sobbing came so quickly it caught me off guard and my anxiety quickly got the best of me... "OK! RELAX! STOP WITH THE DRAMA!"
I start to head back home in an unfamiliar direction. The vans gas tank is marking nearly empty and I'm lost with no purse. After 5 minutes of driving in circles I had to stop and pull out the GPS... but not without my throwing a fit about the fact that I was in this predicament over some M&M's. "I'M TAKING YOU BACK TO SCHOOL! Like it or NOT! DEAL WITH IT!" But I promised. The GPS leads me back into some familiar territory and before I know it I'm back home.8:52... I jump out of the van, fumble with my keys, sprint to my door and rush inside. I quickly give an explanation to my mother in law who is keeping an eye on my 1 year old who's sick with pneumonia and run back out again. A smile on my boys face and with a sense of relief that he'll be joining in on his classroom activity.. we drive quietly to the CVS down the street from his school. 9:01... as we park the van and rush into through the automatic doors he's excited as he tells me his plans for his gingerbread house. He immediately spots a classmate who from the looks of it... dad forgot his candy too. I couldn't help but feel just a little better. I'm not such a horrible mom after all! We pick up our M&M's as I point the lost dad over towards the gum drops... we pay for our merchandise and we go.
I pull into the school parking lot at 9:12 am... an entire forty-two minutes late. My boy happily stuffs his candy into his book bag and turns to look at me with his happy eyes and pink frost kissed cheeks. He tosses his arms around my neck and gives me a great big THANK-YOU-YOU'RE-THE-BEST hug. Where I would normally rush him out the passenger door... I hold him extra tight. I let the minutes roll by as we extend our normal goodbye. Kiss. Hug. "I love you." Hug. "I love you more. Be good." Hug. Kiss. "OK, mom. I love you." Hug. Kiss. He lets go. He throws his book bag over his shoulder and skips out of the van... towards the school double doors... and he's on his way to class.
It didn't matter that he was tardy. The rage I felt just moments prior over chasing these candies down had completely melted away. I felt just a little more awake. So much happier. Grateful beyond words. And at the very same time... my heart ached for the 26 families that woke up this morning only to realize they're living a nightmare.
And for the ones who's lives barely just begun... while they're off among the clouds...
Twenty mothers woke up Monday morning with nowhere to rush off to. Twenty. Twenty less gingerbread houses made. Twenty less shining, eager faces to wake up to Christmas morning. Twenty less blankets to be pulled back and tushies dragged out of bed. Twenty less lunches to pack. Twenty. Twenty less rug rats contributing to mommy's morning rush. Twenty less set of baby teeth to brush. Twenty.
Twenty mothers woke up Monday morning wishing they could be in my shoes... Driving circles in search of some over priced candy for their very special little One.