“It is time to go. Come on. We are going to be late for school.” It is something I say to my daughter every morning.
Like any six year old, she commences her day when she is ready. I stalk her as soon as the clock hits 6:45 a.m. “It’s time to get up. Come on! Wake up. Let’s go eat breakfast.” There is the usual moaning accompanied by the famous phrase, “Can I sleep for five more minutes?” I, of course, am not interested in having this discourse, knowing that teaching her to be timely is something that should be a lesson that is learned and cemented early in life. “No. Not five more minutes. It’s time to wake up NOW.” With this declaration that sounds more like a demand, she jumps out of bed and heads toward breakfast.
This morning she lingers a little over her fruit and cereal and we are running just a little behind. I tell her to grab her back pack and her water bottle as she dawdles toward the car. “Did you wear your shoes? Did you buckle your seat belt?” I am firing questions to her and I hope she remembers that I do this out of loving-kindness and not because I want an alternative career as a drill sargeant. She usually answers with, “Yes. Momma. I already did it.”
We pull up to the school within fifteen minutes and head toward her classroom. She runs ahead because she is excited about recess and the desire to hang from the monkey bars. Before she can head to the playground, she is required to unpack her backpack. We empty out her homework folder, place the water bottle in the room, and usually, place her lunch box in the carton near the door.
This morning it didn’t pan out as planned. She unzips her backpack and announces, “Momma, where is my lunch? I think we forgot it.” In a hurry, I know that I left her lunch in the refrigerator. Her mouth starts to curve into a frown. “Don’t worry, I will run back home and grab your lunch and bring it back to the school.” With that she is satisfied and she kisses me on the cheek and waves good-bye.
Instead of running directly back home to retrieve her lunch, I decide to run errands. On my way, I encounter a Subway sandwich store. My daughter is a huge fan of the veggie sub. As a surprise, I buy her a veggie sub, chips and a chocolate chip cookie. Dropping of this lunch at the school office, I feel an odd sense of satisfaction.
I pick her up late in the afternoon and as she climbs into the car, she says, “Momma, you got me a subway for lunch! I was so excited! At first I was standing in the hot lunch line because I didn’t have my lunchbox, but there was only meat to eat. I told the lunch lady I was vegetarian. After a few minutes of waiting, someone brought my lunchbox to me.” She is saying this in one breath.
“And then you know what, Momma, I turned to my friend and told her, “My Momma is my hero. She came to the rescue with my lunch.”
As soon as she says this, my insides are bawling. Her statement was so unexpected. It made me really think about parenting. Sometimes I am so busy trying to parent her by emphasizing order and time and good behavior that I forget the power of a single simple gesture. Bringing my daughter’s favorite lunch to school was enough.