Posted on | February 25, 2015 | 3 Comments
Mornings aren’t always easy at my house. Some days I repeat myself so many times that I want to pull my hair out. Some days I feel like the words “Get. your. clothes. on.” are tattooed across my forehead and they’re all I’ll ever say, ever, for the rest of my life. Some days I just want to grab and shake my son and say “DON’T YOU KNOW I’M IN A HURRY?!”
But no matter how our morning goes at home, we always make it to school. Sometimes we race up the walk way. Some days I’m still pushing at him to unbuckle his seat belt, open the door, and use his feet to walk to class. It’s like a constant push and pull of who is in charge, who is making the decisions. And sometimes I let him win, because I think that’s what parents are supposed to do. And sometimes I let him lose… because I think that’s also what parents are supposed to do.
But no matter how much we argue on the way to school, no matter how much I want to strangle him for talking back or not listening or throwing crazy fits over buttoning his pants or cleaning up his breakfast plates… no matter all of that, we start our day away from each other the same way.
I hover for a moment as he puts his jacket on the hook in his cubby. I wait while he slides his lunch box into it’s place and smile as bright as I can while he surveys which of his friends are in the room already. Then I stretch out my arms and say “Okay… I have to go!” And he bends down into a runner’s stance and takes off towards me while I do my best Westley impression, saying “Gently! Gently!” before he barrels into my arms. Then I back out the door, waving, and make my way down the front walk way, stopping every few moments to check the windows beside and behind me.
I don’t check them because I worry he’s unhappy.
I don’t check them because I think that he may need me.
I check them because I think that’s what parents do.
We check the windows for little faces pressed tight against the glass. We check the windows for silly faces we can return, for smiles we can bounce back, for kisses we can catch and press to our cheeks and foreheads. We check the windows not for them, not for the sake of our child but for the sake of ourselves, for the knowledge that the last moment they saw us, we were smiling. For the understanding that the last words spoken between us were cheerful and loving. For the reality that we need those tiny smiles and gap-toothed faces to remind us that WE, not they, are okay.
Sometimes J and I make silly faces for a few moments. Sometimes we blow kisses and catch them, bouncing our love for each other off the windows between us. And those mornings feel just about perfect because he needs me and it satiates my need to know that he is good and well and fine. And some days, he never notices me pull away, too enthralled in whatever is going on in his classroom. Those days are perfect, too, because he doesn’t need me… and it reminds me that this, too, is what parents do. We let them move away from us, from needing us for any and every thing.
No matter the day, or the weather, or the amount of madness piled onto my plate before and after I leave the house and make my way to my desk, I have to check those windows. And because I do, I always know that for at least five minutes… everything is exactly right with my world.