Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The day I was that mom

School started yesterday, and this year I was going to be the prepared mom.  The one who gets her kids to school on time and packs their lunches the night before and leaves them only with sweet words and kisses and doesn't endlessly shout "Get in the car!" over and over all morning long.

In that spirit I decided to make some overnight oatmeal the night before Aiden's first day, to simplify our morning routine.  I pulled up Pinterest for the first time in months and started adding ingredients. The recipe called for two tablespoons sugar, which I heaped in before carrying on with the cocoa powder.  It was only after the cocoa powder that I noticed.  Sitting right next to me, lid ajar, no label, was not the sugar, but the salt.  The sugar remained pushed against the back of the counter, sealed tightly.  I sampled the liquidy mixture with my finger and nearly spat it back out.  Two tablespoons salt.  I had used two tablespoons salt!

I'm not one to waste food, though, and since most of the ingredients had already been added I attempted to locate the saltiest spots and scrape them out with a spoon.  I felt semi-successful in my efforts, so I moved on with the recipe.  This time I added three tablespoons sugar, to counteract any leftover saltiness.  Only I didn't add three tablespoons sugar, I added three more tablespoons salt.  Which of course I didn't realize until I went to taste it and unwittingly ingested my sodium intake for the year.  I did it again!  How in the world had I done it again?!

But whatever.  I made freaking calzones for the first day of school.  Calzones!  I had Aiden's inside and PE shoes already in his bag!  I had clothes laid out for all three boys.  What do these people expect?  Perfection?  Oatmeal that doesn't taste like it's been skimmed from the bottom of the ocean?

We still got to school early the next day.  Early!  Can you even imagine?  Aiden wanted to be the first one in his classroom, which of course he wasn't.  But fourth is not bad.  Not bad at all.  (Anyhow, aren't we aiming for last, or something like that?)

And so when last night rolled around I thought how nice it was to be prepared that morning.  To have lunches packed and clothes ready and hardly any yelling throughout the house.  What a great way to start the day!  I mean, I didn't do it again.  I was much too tired for that.  But I did think how nice that one day was.  I thought how it felt, for one day, to be the prepared mom.  The mom who really has her stuff together.

It felt good, for sure, but I still didn't pack lunches last night.  I didn't ready breakfast, or clothes.  I didn't prepare for the day.  I did, however, talk to my son.  I listened as he explained the moments he felt happy and the moments he felt lonely and the moments he felt somewhere in between.  We discussed the kids who had plenty of friends, and the ones who had none at all.  We challenged each other to look for the lonely ones, to be brave enough to offer friendship to someone who really needs it.

And so this morning was a bit frantic, but all three children were clothed and fed.  Bags were packed and lunches were made and, most importantly, coffee was consumed.

I'll always remember my day in the sun.  I'll know now what it feels like to pull lunch from the fridge instead of running around chopping and scrounging and generally panicking.  I'll realize what it is to flippantly pass your children their prepared outfits instead of begging them to please, for the love, just go get dressed!  I'll understand just how peaceful the morning can be.

Of course, I should have known when I mentioned to Joel that this year I was going to be prepared, that this year I would gather and pack and ready in the evenings, before school, and he laughed too fast and too long, that it was never going to happen.

But it did happen.  Once.  And I'm holding out hope that maybe, one day, it will happen again.

Until then, though, I'll be happy with the little successes.  Dinner made, and oftentimes cleaned up.  Long baby baths.  Bedtime conversations and books and an hour to relax before I can hold my eyes open no longer.

Extra kisses and hugs and love-you's as they pile into their classrooms for the day, no matter how close to total meltdown I felt just minutes before.

And the knowledge that they're so loved, if not always prepared.  After all, if love can make the world go round, perhaps it can help us survive another school year.  One crazy morning at a time.

This is an old picture, but I've given up all hope of ever getting another good first day of school photo.  So you'll probably see this one a lot.


  1. You are doing a great job, I trade time together for prepping any day.

  2. Kim, I didn't know you were a writer. I loved the refugee mom piece, and this one too. I hope there are many more great days like the first. I hope you and Joel have a great year. I miss the friends/ staff at AISB but I love Arizona and the heat and am happy being in the US. PS I found you via Shawn on Fb. Take Care