My oldest kid is starting school this year. As Andy and I have pretty flexible remote work schedules, this is the first time we’ve had a real deadline as to when have to be somewhere on a weekday morning. It isn’t like childcare where the drop off can happen any time before 9. So we’re coming up with a before-school routine to try and minimize “running late” stress that will crop up with this new schedule.
When I was thinking about this I remembered what I would do as a teen with my school shoes. My mum worked as a teacher at the primary school next to my school so I would get driven to school (as it was where she was driving to work). I hated having to wear socks and shoes. So I would insist on leaving it until the very last minute before I would put them on. As in, I would wait until we had driven to school, mum had parked the car and it was time to get out, then I would put my shoes on.
It is the sort of behaviour that would, as we say in Australia, absolutely shit me to tears as a parent. I remember there were even a couple of times when I realised I had left my shoes at home the moment we arrived at school. So mum had to drive back home to get them. The audacity of me, to still refuse to put my shoes on at home after one of those events!
There have been a million little sad or disappointing moments that have followed losing my mum to cancer when I was 25, long before I had any kids of my own. Some of them are like this, where I remember something and wish I could tell her I am sorry I was so annoying, and thank her for being so patient, and kind. My kids are better off because she showed me how to embody both of those virtues and many more.