Today I had a very bad case of the too-much-to-dos, which is bad enough, but it was in combination with the everyone-is-out-to-get-mes. The symptoms of these ailments are repeated tardiness,constant adrenaline rushing through the veins, and careless, unobservant behavior. The cure includes big, fat doses of hug-the-kids and sit-the-heck-downs. After 15 hours of non-stop movement, I'm finally taking my "medicine".
We had a very full schedule today. Besides the normal piano lessons, soccer practice, and Boy Scout meeting, it was my first day at my new job. (Surprise! I'm working one day a week at the preschool where I used to teach.) I had a very specific plan of how our day was to go. Everything was planned down to the minute, and I had all of the supplies necessary to get through the day.
Unfortunately, I forgot one very important detail. Really, the most important detail. See, besides it being my first day at work, it was also Turken's first day of school.
In my rush to get everyone and everything where they needed to be, in my frustration with school buses that had to stop at least 15 times in one neighborhood in order to pick up children who moved slower than molasses, in my frustration with clocks that don't actually show the correct time, in my wish to be a good employee on my first day, I forgot about my children's needs.
I woke the little boys up too late. I gave them 10 minutes to get dressed, and didn't give them any time to eat breakfast. It was already packed and waiting for them in the van.
In my planning for the day, I forgot to factor in cuddling. And hugs. And love. I basically made my children's needs a to-do list, and when their needs didn't look like what I expected, I got anxious.
"No, I can't hold you. We have to be out of this house in five minutes!"
"No, I can't help you with your shoes. You know how to do them, and I have to get my own shoes on."
Hurry, hurry. Rush, rush.
I ran Cuckoo in to our friend's house and threw his stuff in the door behind him.
I raced to school, where I found that 15 minutes before school was to start, parents were already dropping their kids off. I was supposed to be in there collecting paperwork and consoling crying, screaming children, so I scurried on in to school with Turken trailing behind me. I ran into the director's room to let her know I was there and see where she needed me. As I put my purse down, she snagged Turken and showed him to his room. I followed behind. As I bent down to give him a kiss and say goodbye, I saw the look on his face. That look stopped me in my tracks. I immediately forgot about all of those parents waiting for me to collect their paperwork. I stopped hearing all of those crying children I was supposed to be consoling. My baby was the one needing me. And I finally saw it.
Not one of my older children cried on their first days of school. I pretty much had to force them to even say goodbye. But there was a reason. The older kids knew that building. They knew the teachers. There was no reason to be nervous. I forgot that Turken had only been there once. He had no idea who these women were that were chatting with him. I stopped teaching there less than a month before he was born. This was all completely new to him.
When I saw that look of, "I don't want to cry, but I don't think I can stop it," my priorities snapped right back into place. He and I found his name tag. I showed him where and how to hang his backpack. We looked at all of the puzzles and toys with which to play. After a few minutes, he was ready to say good-bye. He wasn't exactly happy about it, but he was ready. We had a good hug, a little wave, and I left him.
I caught a glimpse of him once during the day. The class was getting a tour of the building, and they walked by my room. He looked just like all of the other kids, a little shell-shocked, a bit hesitant, but on the verge of being really, really happy.
When it was time to pick him up, I was back to the mom that he knows. The mom that my big kids saw on their first days. And he shined. We stopped to admire his picture hanging in the hallway. He showed off the boat he made at craft time. I heard about his new friend, and about how they played together, but they didn't play everything together. Did you know that there are seven days in a week? Turken does now. He learned it at school today. Don't ask him what those days are named, though. At this point, he thinks they are "Sunday, tomorrow, Monday, and some others".
The rest of the day still held all of the to-do's that were originally planned. I still had practices and meetings and pick-ups and cooking and washing and frustrations with things that held me up.
But even with the full schedule, ready to bust and fall like a house of cards, I added a few things.
More hugs. More attention. More calm. More of what's important.
I promised Turken that tomorrow will be different. (Luckily, he does want to go back!)
We are going to get up earlier, cuddle and chat before we head downstairs to eat a proper breakfast at the table, then have a leisurely stroll into school while we discuss what the day may hold.
Even if 50 buses stop to pick up 500 snails, we will be calm.
We will not run.
I'm sick and tired of rushing.
Children's needs cannot and should not be hurried.
And I'm not going to do it anymore.