Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Out the Door in Five

I woke up to find a little boy soundly sleeping next to me.

That's sweet, I thought in my fog, since the phrase "woke up" is rather generous to describe how I start almost every morning.

Maybe half a dozen snooze-button pushes later it finally entered my brain that today is a school day.

Today is a school day!

Don't confuse the exclamation point for happy excitement.  It is meant to express that panicky feeling you get in dreams when something big is crashing down around you.

Finally, reality sinks in and a shot of adrenaline spikes me vertical and I realize we are supposed to be out the door in five minutes.  Landon is still sound asleep and Micah is upstairs telling his crib noisy stories.

We lasted two whole months.  Two months of timely, reasonably calm school mornings where I felt like I was rocking it...in spite of the fact that I took numerous trips through the carpool with bedhead and teeth I hadn't brushed yet.  But overall, no tardies for a girl not known for her punctuality felt like victory.

Well, let's do this thing, Landon.  This won't be great, but I think we can salvage it.
Up.  Out.  Just wear what you have on.

I throw on yoga pants and slip on shoes.  Meet you in the car.  I have breakfast bars.  And the soggy-bottomed baby who needs a diaper change.  (bless his amiable heart)

Landon comes out carrying his shoes and looking a year younger in that sleepy-eyed, soft way he holds onto when he just wakes.

Can you kinda comb your fingers through your hair?  See if you can settle it down in the back.

My foot is growing too heavy and I try to lighten up on the gas as I contemplate how lame it would be to get a speeding ticket on the way to something like kindergarten.  

This is not urgent, remind myself, but I'm convinced that Landon's equilibrium will be totally thrown if he has to come into class late after everyone else has followed the peaceful protocol of lining up with the teacher and marching in as a happy little group.

Suddenly, like rounding the corner and discovering a double rainbow, I realize we are going to make it.  We will be just fine.  Dad will be disappointed that we all ate crumbly breakfast bars in the newly clean van, and Landon will have to fill his water bottle at school, but he will be in line with the group.  Rumpled, sleep in his eyes, with a few crumbs clinging to his mouth, but just fine.

I exhale.  Landon pipes up from the back,

"I'm not as hungry as you think, Mom.  I had breakfast with Daddy.  So it will be ok that all I had was that nola bar."

Breakfast with Daddy?!  Bill eats while it is still dark, long before I get up.

It all clicks.  How he ended up in my bed.  Why he couldn't be woken.  Why he is not fussing about the disruption of our luxurious routine.

I drive home behind a responsible citizen who seems like they are driving painfully slow, following the speed limit.  I need to re-calibrate

I knew this day was coming.  The one where decades of chaotic mornings catch up to me and claim a piece of the order and calm I have been working so hard to create for Landon's school experience.  I knew the leaf would turn back over, accompanied by the well-worn mantras of "Come on!  Let's GO! We're going to be late."

And for a moment, the rut of all that feels smooth and deep and in danger of closing in over my van, becoming the tunnel we'll be destined to live in.  It starts to feel like once you hop on the Frantic-Late-Ones train there is No.Getting.Off. until it pulls into the station.  Late, of course.

Mark Sylvester

Bet we have managed to stay off that train for two and a half months, I tell myself.  And what we can do one day, we can do again.

So I take the soggy-bottomed baby in the house.  And I do the next thing.  As I change his diaper I resolve to get us all in bed a half hour earlier tonight.

We have some track jumping to do tomorrow.

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