A favorite wall plaque of mine reads, “I love you more today than yesterday. Yesterday you were really a jerk.”
That said, I love my children to pieces.
When I’m not exasperated with them. Then, its harder to remember I love them, even though I still do.
This morning all was going well…the kids were dressed for school, they’d eaten their breakfast, and had backpacks ready to go. So I declared that we could watch some more of the Movie “How To Train Your Dragon” that we had started the night before, until it was time to go to the street to catch the school bus.
The kids were immediately transfixed at the TV. And as their responsible, trustworthy, authoritative-type adult-like figure…. I got sucked into the movie too. Toothless the Dragon is one of my heroes. He and Po, the Dragon warrior.
I don’t know what made me glance at the clock, but it was time to go. Like, now. I cried, “Aaack!”. (My kids know an ‘Aaaack’ is never a good thing.) Gwen was up like a shot, had her coat on and was out the door in a flash. I had to call her back because she’d forgotten her lunch, but essentially, she was good to go.
Garrick. ***sigh*** Garrick not so much. He had not put his socks on, and I had not noticed it since he was sitting on his feet. So I yelped, “Get your socks and shoes on! You’ve got to go now!”.
There are a thousand and one endearing qualities about Garrick. The painfully long time he takes to choose and put on socks is not one of them.
The longer he took, the more exasperated I became. The more exasperated I became, the shriller my voice rose, the more my voice rose, the slower he worked. It was not going well. I tried and tried to light a fire under him as the clocked ticked on. It got to the point where I was yelling that if he didn’t get his butt out there pronto, and missed the bus, I would personally deliver him to the principal’s office to report him tardy, and NO I didn’t care that his socks didn’t match!
He finally got out the door, looking forlorn and sad, obviously because I’d wounded him with my barking. He’d forgotten his lunch, I yelled to him as he was heading to the street that he’d have to buy lunch. (He HATES that.) His response was a muffled, “Ok! OK! Geesh!”.
And the bus was late.
The moment he was out the door, it hit me. That familiar wave of guilt that punches me in the gut whenever I have to play the heavy. THIS, this is the part of parenthood I hate with a vengeance. I rarely feel like a grown up myself most of the time, so it is hard to be resented for being one. Why did I have to resort to yelling? Why couldn’t I have checked for his socks before I started the movie? Why couldn’t he have remembered to put his socks on himself to begin with?
These were questions I clearly had no business asking before my first cup of coffee. But now that the morning is over, I can answer it firmly and confidently.
“It doesn’t matter why. Just try to do better tomorrow.”
There is no sense in beating ourselves up for making mistakes or being weak or not being what we think we ought to be. It’s a journey after all, not a destination.