I Shouldn’t

I got out of bed at 6:30 this morning. I went to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, only realizing in the absence of the familiar smell of Folger’s that I hadn’t set the coffee maker the night before. Drat. I poured a glass of Cherry Pepsi instead and sat at the dining room table for my daily Bible reading. When I finished reading, I ended my morning quiet time with a prayer, asking God to wrap his protective arms around the schools throughout the country today.

I made a couple of frozen whole-grain waffles and a glass of orange juice for my six-year-old son. I took it into the bedroom and gently woke him up.

“Hey, Mister Sleepyhead, it’s time to get up. I made some syrupy-sweet waffles for my sweet big boy,” I said. I stroked his soft, blonde hair and kissed his cheek.

He opened his eyes and asked excitedly, “Waffles?”

“Yep, get up and out of bed so you can eat them!”

He jumped out of bed and sat on the floor with his waffles. I left him and went back to the kitchen to put his lunch together.  A Lunchable and a Fruit Roll-Up, two of his favorite treats. I set his lunch bag next to his backpack and went to check on him. His eyes were glued to the TV with an empty plate at his feet.

“Wow, that was fast!” I said. “Okay, get yourself dressed now, please. I’m going to go get your brother.”

As I headed out of the room, our dog started jumping and dancing at the front door. “Okay, okay,” I said. I opened the door, and she bolted past me. The click-clack of her toenails on our hardwood floors woke up the baby boy, and he started to fuss but ended it with an abrupt smile when he saw my face. “Good morning, baby boy,” I said as I picked him up and snuggled him close. “Let’s go see Bubby.”

I carried him back into the room where my oldest son should have been getting dressed, only to find him snuggled under the covers again and watching cartoons. “Son, please get dressed,” I said.

He stared at me. I stared back at him. No one moved. “Let’s go! You need to get dressed for school!” I said.

“Okay! I am!” he said, making his way slowly down to the edge of his bed where his empty clothes rested in a heap.

I left the baby boy to play on the floor and went to get myself dressed. I threw on a sweatshirt and a pair of flats, brushed my hair and teeth, and went back to check on my son’s progress.

Still wearing his PJs. Clothes still in a heap. The only change in the entire scene was bare feet instead of socked feet. I turned off the TV. “Let’s. Go. Get dressed. Now you need to hurry, or you’re going to be late for school.” I picked up the baby boy, stopped at the front door to call the dog back into the house, and got the baby boy dressed and his diaper changed. I hurried back to the room. No shirt. PJ pants. No socks.

“SON! Seriously, this is getting ridiculous! Why does it take you so long to get dressed in the mornings? I hate starting our day with me getting angry with you!” I said. Don’t do this. Don’t let this be the last conversation you have with him. I offered more gently, “Can you please just hurry and get dressed so that I can get you to school on time today?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Thank you.”

He finished getting dressed (somewhat) quickly, brushed his teeth in a reasonable amount of time, and then gave the dog food and water before we headed out the door.

“I love you,” I said on our way to his school.

“I love you too.”

We pulled up next to the sidewalk leading to the entrance to his school, and I asked him for a hug and kiss. I squeezed his little body tight and gave him a quick peck on the lips.

“Have a great day, buddy. I love you so much.”

“I will. Love you too.” He slammed the door shut, and I watched every one of his steps toward the school building. His gym teacher greeted him at the door, opened it for him, and when it closed, I lost sight of my son. Tears that I hadn’t known were forming started to flow down my cheeks in long, fast-moving streams. My heart ached. Even as I drove away, I wanted him in the car with me again. I hadn’t been sad the day I dropped him off in Kindergarten for the first time, but I was sad this morning. Sad for the world.

I shouldn’t need to pray for God to protect our children at school. I shouldn’t feel guilty about yelling at my son for taking an insane amount of time to get dressed in the morning, fearful that those might be the last words that I say to him. I shouldn’t feel terrified as I watch my son walk through the doors of his school. But I do. And if I do, I can not even imagine what a school morning feels like now to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.


37 Comments on “I Shouldn’t”

  1. iasoupmama says:

    My Kindergartener dawdles getting dressed, too. She can take forever and I always get grumpy and frustrated. Thankfully, my grumpiness never seems to affect her — her resiliency is amazing.

    • Laura says:

      My son ends up just as exasperated as I am. It’s not fun. lol Any recommendations are highly appreciated. I’ve thought about taking him to school in his PJs, but he would probably be fine with that.

      • iasoupmama says:

        My daughter would be happy to wear PJs to school. The only thing that gets her moving is turning off the TV and standing over her until she’s dressed. But she’s never grumpy, just poky. I guess that’s a good thing…

  2. A very touching post. It is amazing that these normal typical daily routines seem anything but lately. This is a difficult time.

  3. My mom used to take my sister to school in her PJs when she refused to get dressed. She decided that arguing about it was just counter-productive, and my sister was thrilled about it. Thanks for writing this piece. Sometimes the most mundane of routines are the most important in the wake of such a tragedy.

  4. I think we are all trying to be more patient with our kids right now! It’s so hard to feel normal doing anything at the moment.

  5. I have been doing the same thing, catching myself and feeling guilty when I’m impatient. It’s tough to recall what is normal right now. It’s tough to imagine anything being normal again.

  6. you still drinks folgers.. i’ve been so in love with my keurig that i can’t imagine making coffee anymore. 😉 more seriously, thank you for your prayers. we need them. and i’m the same, i watch the school bus go, i cry. i wait for them to come back, i cry more. 😦

    • Laura says:

      Bahaha, I’m envious of this “Keurig” I keep hearing about. Just found out that my son’s school was on lockdown today b/c of a dad that allegedly was threatening to go to the school to say goodbye to his children and then kill himself in front of the children. They caught him before he could get near the school, thank God. What the heck am I supposed to do now? I’ll take my son to school tomorrow morning, and then I’ll cry and pray, and hope to God that it is enough.

  7. Bee says:

    It’s horrible that something so routine, such as getting ready for and going to school, is now something so scary.

  8. outlawmama says:

    Beautiful. I am with you on this.

  9. Larks says:

    I so hear you. Whenever my 4.5 y/o is doing stuff like refusing to get dressed or acting like it’s the end of the world because she wanted a pink cup, not a blue cup my first impulse is to be like, “Seriously? No. Put on pants. Suck it up and drink from the blue cup. We have to be some place at 9.” But since Friday I’ve been catching myself and thinking, “Do you really want those to be the last words you say to her?”

    The thing is, though, I need to generalize that to everyone. Life is so fragile and “I love you is never a bad thing.”

    • Laura says:

      That’s such a good thought about generalizing this patience and tolerance to those outside of our families as well. I think the world could use a lot of that.

  10. Kristin says:

    Thank you. It does us all well to read each other’s thoughts and prayers.

  11. angela ryan says:

    Sad for the world too. Blessings to you and your family.

  12. Ginny Marie says:

    My mornings are very similar to yours, except I have two little girls who need to get dressed for school! It’s hard not to yell sometimes, but I always make sure we’re okay before we go to school. 😉

  13. Azara says:

    This made me feel weepy, because it was such a vivid picture of the morning many of the kids at Sandy Hook must have had. Incredibly beautiful post.

  14. Jen says:

    I really identify with this: the need for coffee, poky kindergartener, the struggle for patience, the lingering fear that clouds everything… beautifully written. Thank you.

  15. First I am impressed that you get up for Bible time each morning. I tried and just kept failing. I have Bible time at night now. I know exactly what you mean about saying in your head this shouldn’t be your last conversation. Its made mornings bittersweet. I am nicer. My kids are being nicer because I’m nicer. But I still have that horrific thought in my head.

    • Laura says:

      It does have effect on your day, but sweet, dear sister, I do not get out of bed EVERY day this way. I still have a seven-month-old who rarely sleeps through the night, which makes it difficult to get out of bed and do this. It’s not every morning, but I do try, and I love starting my day that way. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  16. My kindergartner and I have the argument over getting dressed too and I’ve been feeling badly about these arguments lately more than usual. It’s hard because they keep pushing buttons in the wake of tragedy and they still push buttons. But the kisses and saying I love you are even more important on those days.

  17. SnapInTime says:

    I’m late to seeing this but so appreciated your words and related very strongly to them. Putting my kids on the bus the Monday after that terrible day was so incredibly hard. Helping my kids through it -living just a few miles away the media saturation was inescapable- was so hard. The fear we feel as parents, how it makes us look it things so incredibly differently… I completely relate. I wrote about it as well.

    Wishing all the best to you and yours. ❤

    • Laura says:

      Well thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment with your thoughts. We didn’t tell my son much about it, just the very basics, that someone went into a school in a town far away (we showed him where CT is on the map compared to us), and some kids and teachers got hurt. Some died. He just said, “Oh, okay.” I’m sure living so close to the school that it was inescapable and indescribable to your own children. It still gives me the chills dropping him off. God blessings to you and your family. ❤

      • SnapInTime says:

        Fortunately, we were able to shield Emily from much of it. She gets scared when she hears the story referenced but doesn’t quite understand why- her fear is based on the reactions of others. She is our youngest and with developmental disabilities has the least capability to really understand it. She pretty much accepted it at face value when they were told that new security measures at school were being implemented to keep them safe and so on. The boys are just so much older though- 10th and 8th- grade- no sheltering them. So heartbreaking. I’m so glad your son was able to process it at his level and go on. ❤

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