This morning, as I dropped off my 3 middles at school, the principal- who was shutting the car door -said “Looks like it was a rough morning.”
It started when I had to physically remove two of my children from their beds and sit them upright, because tickling and singing Jason Derulo didn’t work. As my alarm chimed that it was time to head out the door I see one of my kids grabbing a Tupperware of leftover meatballs from the fridge and sticking them in the microwave. I said “WHAT is happening- we have to go!!” The meatball-holding child said the meatballs were going in a lunch box since we are out of lunch meat and I didn’t go to the store yesterday. I said “we don’t have time to prepare a meatball sub at 7:19 am, also YUCK! Old meatballs that are cold. Ewww. Lunch is going to have be from the school today, kiddo.” That’s when it hit the fan. My kid full on FLIPPED OUT. It went like this: “I am NOT eating the cafeteria food. Are you serious!! I can’t believe you are making me do this. JUST SO YOU KNOW I WILL PROBABLY GET SOME DISEASE FROM EATING THAT TERRIBLE FOOD AND WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING ME TO THE HOSPITAL TONIGHT FOR MY DUH-ZEEEEZ YOU ARE PROBABLY GOING TO BE THIKNING HMMMMM MAYBE THOSE MEATBALLS WERENT SUCH A BAD IDEA!!!” I stood there, gripping my coffee cup because it was the only thing that made sense, just trying to wrap my head around what was occurring in front of me. And my alarm goes off again. And another child is in the background stressing out over a test that I know they will just rock at because we studied together for an hour last night for it. Soooo, just so you have the mental picture, cafeteria disease child LOSING THEIR EVER LOVIN MIND OVER A DANG PIZZA BOAT, test child looking a hot mess of worry and stressing over a test that IS NO BIG DEAL, one child throwing his soggy cheerios out the door at the chickens, and another child trying to put on one aqua and one hot pink converse. So, yes, Mr. Principal, this morning has been interesting.
I made my way back home to drop my oldest off at school. My oldest that has zero filter and just says what is in his head because in his mind, since it is not ill-intended, it isn’t rude. He said “It’s funny how every day since the first day of school you drive a little faster and a little faster and now really really fast. Because every day we are more behind schedule.” Yeah. I’m aware, Tyler. Thanks buddy.
I drop him off and head up to Portsmouth Naval Hospital, which stresses me out because its in a city and there is traffic and despite having lived in this general area for 3.5 years (and having had one baby, two leg surgeries, and probably about two dozen appointments at this same exact hospital), I still get lost. Today, my luck turned and I made it there just fine. Leaving, on the other hand, was another story. I used Google Maps, because my husband swears it is better than my iPhone Map app (Spoiler—IT ISN’T). So I ask the map to take me to Moyock, my town. It does it’s thing and calculates and sends me on my way. I sit in tunnel traffic for what felt like hours and finally it starts to move some, which is good because by now Declan had had it, and it tells me to exit. I follow, because clearly Google knows more than I do, and it puts smack dab in front of the MacArthur Center ( a mall in Norfolk that is nowhere near where I live) and announces that I have arrived. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s just say I got pretty hot. If I had money to spend or time to kill, it may not have been such a bad directional mistake. But I had neither. So I cuss at the app on my phone and swear to NEVER believe a word that comes out of her mouth again, and switch back to my iPhone map, and maybe apologize for ever straying.
On my way home, now on the correct road, the scene that unfolded in my kitchen this morning comes back to me and I remember to get groceries so we don’t have a repeat tomorrow. I head to walmart, just Declan and I, and we are crossing things off our list, and my shoulders start to unclench. We get most of what we need and head to pay. I get in line to pay when I realize, as I am standing there, that it was the cashiers first time ever ringing people up. It became obvious when the lady in front of me took about 10 minutes to check out when she had only 8 or so items. When it was my turn to get checked out, I noticed the line behind me was pretty full and the people looked a little tense. The cashier was struggling with looking up some of the fruits and vegetables, but she was apologetic and I could tell she was trying to move quickly. The people behind me started voicing their frustration and the lady said “why don’t you just call for help if you don’t know how to do it”. I cringed. The cashier apologized again, to the lady and to me. I kept saying “You’re good. I am in no hurry.” But it didn’t help the people behind me. The lady directly behind me made a huge show of taking every single item she was buying OFF of the conveyor belt and loading it back into her cart. I seriously felt so bad but I didn’t want to say something that might make it worse, so I started talking about French Toast sticks and how my kids would think I was mother of the year for buying three boxes of those things, in an attempt to just distract her from the – in my opinion- obvious rudeness. My attempts were futile. The cashier stopped looking up at us but kept saying “I’m sorry” with her head down, as she tried and tried to get things moving as fast as she could. I wanted to walk around to the open side of the lane and just hug her.
I shared all that to say this. I feel like we have gotten so self-centered and entitled, and maybe even whiny (MYSELF TOTALLY INCLUDED HERE), that in our rush and in our desire to look out for number one, we hurt the people around us. Yesterday I went on social media and complained about having a crappy day. It really wasn’t the best, but after hearing some news from a few friends, there was a major shift in my perspective, and I realized how blessed I am, and how I truly do not have any reason to complain. How even the hard stuff that happens, in some way, shines light on another blessing. (1- Our trampoline was ruined in a storm yesterday as it blew over our fence—but no one was hurt, it didn’t crash through our house, and thankfully our dogs and our chickens were inside at the time. 2- My nerve damage is permanent and I wont ever get my quad back- but I can walk and do things today that I could not even fathom doing two years ago.) I also thought how pitiful it was that I had to hear very sad news in order to grasp how wonderful my life is. That is a problem.
I started thinking about my attitude while I was feeling all gloomy, and how that may have affected the people around me. I thought about how being in a hurry and focusing so much on my to do list might make me ignore, overlook, or even be unkind to people right in front of me who could really use a smile or a kind word or a hug. That, in my desire to preserve what I can of my sanity, I might write some things off thinking I need to cushion in a break for myself. It totally makes sense in theory. The idea that I should not bog myself down with things because I need to focus on my home, my family, myself first to truly be able to help others. It sounds good to me. But is that really who we are supposed to be? I don’t know.
Today in the grocery store, I was totally impatient just the like the people behind me. And I am sure I made some facial expressions like HURRY THE HECK UP WOMAN I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY. But when the cashier looked up and apologized to me, I felt like an ass. I was sitting there being a jerk and getting all riled up because AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THIS when clearly this woman was doing the best she could and was aware that she was not moving as fast as people would have liked her to. And instead of seeing that right away, I was getting pissy. It took me a minute to soften and realize how rude and unkind my attitude was.
THAT is what I am working on. Trying to be more present and really LOOK at people and genuinely talk with them and not just ask the obligatory “hey how are you?” while thinking ‘please just say fine, ‘cause I don’t have time to hear it all right now…’. Yep. Good gosh, does my heart need some fine tuning. Lord, please help me be love and goodness. And help me to make less of myself and more of others. Because I am really failing at that these days.
So, friends, that is where I am right now. Doing a lot of thinking, trying to be more intentional with how I communicate and listen to others, stopping to take time to really SEE people and not just glance as I rush on by. And with that, I leave you. I have some chores to finish up before I go pick up my cafeteria diseased child from school. I am sort of tempted to show up eating the cold meatballs and remarking about delicious they are…… (I better add that to my list of things I need to work on…)