Some days, things get a little hectic around here.
This morning, for instance, the kids just were not moving. In order to get our boy to put on his jeans, I had to stand in his doorway. Otherwise (the three times I walked out), he just sat on his bed. Our daughter took eeny, teeny bites of breakfast (a consistent problem, possibly intentional). I steered them through every detail of the morning routine, because otherwise, they wandered. “Get your shoes. Go to the table. Eat your breakfast. Put on your shoes while you chew.” They know the rhythm well and shouldn’t need reminders–I edged closer to “Military Mama” as the minutes ticked by.
“Military Mama” is what happens when we’re not running smoothly and no one seems able to get it together. Staccato, drill sergeant-style directives, many decibels above my preferred vocal range. Finally, I asked if they would prefer to step it up or have MM pay a visit. Both thought for a moment and then agreed to move less like sloths and more like jackrabbits.
They each had a half-piece of toast left by the time I left the kitchen. I informed them that if they were done by a certain time, they could have regular bedtime, but if they were late to school, they’d be going to bed early.
Twenty minutes later, Hubby walked in to find both kids still at the table, cheeks stuffed with toast. Instead of eating, they’d been playing at the table and made like hamsters when they heard his approach. He sent them off to brush their hair and teeth. He (amazing man that he is) took them to school for me. They were washed, brushed and, despite our best efforts, still tardy.
During the drive, he informed them that from now on, if they’re not ready, they’re going “as-is.” Forgot to brush your teeth? You may find yourself with fewer playmates for the day. Didn’t tame the bed-head? Bummer. Still in pajamas? Off you go.
They informed us they will be more compliant tomorrow; going to school “as-is” would just be too embarrassing.
I try very hard not to let past behavior affect my mood, but I’ll admit, I had very little patience for the kids this afternoon. They went to bed early, as agreed. I tucked them, kissed them and said bedtime prayers. As I turned to leave the hall, our boy asked if he could pray, too. I figured it was a stall tactic, but acquiesced. So glad I did.
“Dear God. Please send snow. I would really like the opportunity to make a snowman.” (His wording made me grin.)
“Also, please help the poor people. Especially the ones who are homeless. If they sleep on the street, or sleep in a tree, please help them be warm. They need houses. Please help them get houses. And also sandwiches. And when I grow up, please help me be a Construction Army Man.” (This is his chosen vocation title.)
“I want to build houses for all the poor people and also protect them with my tank. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
All my frustration melted away (shocking, I know). I can’t stay annoyed with this kid. Sometimes he can’t follow directions to save his life (although I pray that if the directions are ever necessary to keeping him alive, he’ll manage to follow), but the boy has a heart of gold. That’s easy to forget and overlook in the getting-ready-for-the-day mayhem.
I want to foster his love for others and desire to help people who are in unfortunate circumstances. I want to remember the prayer and the soft heart, and guide him to being a dependable, strong young man.
And of course, the Military Mama in me wants a ride in his tank.