But today, this morning turned out to be anything but routine for the parents of Sandy Hook who lost a child to a reckless gunman. They will never forget the boring details of their last moments with their kids. Now these details seem more precious than ever. My thoughts and love go out to the families dealing with so much loss right now. I'm searching for ways to help. To honor the kids who won't have a chance to experience a crazy school day morning again, I'm including the mundane details of our Friday morning . . .
Rob scrambled to get the boys uniforms together while I got myself dressed for work. It wasn't as bad as usual since I set out my clothes last night, including a brand new sweater. As I was brushing my teeth, I could hear the boys fumbling around the kitchen. I came in and was impressed to see them completely dressed. Minus shoes and socks. I made the boys Nutella sandwiches, poured two cups of apple cider, and cut up an orange. Oscar didn't finish his juice. I asked if he wanted more. He didn't. Owen finished it off for him.
I helped Ella find the last pieces of her outfit, a navy blazer and black shirt. I asked if she had on clean underwear. She did. I found the boys socks. I put my hair in a bun. I helped Ella tie her shoes. Oscar found the cards Grandma sent for Thanksgiving. I can't believe it's taken me so long to give them to the kids. They shouted for joy when they discovered the two dollar bills she stuck in each card.
As we were putting our backpacks on, Owen showed off his perfectly opened envelope. "I've never done it like this before! Look, it's not ripped!" I nodded and put on my hat. "Am I taking Ella today?" I asked Rob. "Yeah, if you can." I could, so I did.
When we were getting on the elevator, Owen was upset because he forgot his envelope. He wanted to show his teacher. Annoyed, I stormed back into the house and looked for the envelope. I couldn't find it, but I found the card so I gave it to him hoping it wouldn't start a tantrum. It worked. The elevator mysteriously went all the way to the top floor and then zoomed down to the bottom.
When we got out the building, a man walking his dog smiled and said hello to Owen and Oscar. Ella was already half way down the street on her scooter. I rushed the boys along and shouted, "We're going to be late!" I took their backpacks so they could run. Luckily, we caught a cab a few blocks later. As we were getting into the cab I said to the kids, "You know what to do. Make me proud!" They know this means to put on their seat belts by themselves. Owen helped me put the scooters in the trunk. Oscar got nervous and asked, "Where's our backpacks?!" He turned and saw them in the trunk. When I got into the cab, I finished putting on their seat belts. As we were driving, I admired the cab and said, "I like this car, I wonder what it is." Ella piped up with, "It's a Toyota!" This cracked the driver up. He told us it was a Prius. I felt like a moron for not knowing. Owen complained I was squishing him.
As we got out of the cab, Owen shouted for all the world to hear, "Bye, mom! I LOVE YOU, MOM!" He did this three times. I beamed and shouted back, "I love you, too!". I'm glad he's still not embarrassed to share his feelings about me in front of his classmates. My friend Emily heard him and smiled at me. Oscar ran into school without his backpack and had to come back to me for it.
Once the boys were in school I said, "Oh, good it's Ella and mom time! Finally" She responded, "I'm hungry." I realized I had forgotten to make her a sandwich like I had the boys. "Oh, you're right! Let's go get you something." We went to the grocery store around the corner. "Oh wait," I said,"Don't you get breakfast at school? Friday is bagel day! You kids always trick me into buy you stuff." She smiled and shrugged as she picked a S'mores flavored Luna Bar. She didn't finish it. We had to ride our scooters a little faster to school because the stop slowed us down a bit.
The wind picked up, so I asked Ella if she wanted to put her gloves on. She did. She opened her backpack to search for them and could only find one. I was so annoyed. She's already lost three hats this winter. Now her gloves. She walked away and I snapped, "Ella, get your scooter! Where are you going?!" I knew it was irrational to be so upset. How do parents let stupid things like this go? I tried not to be mad at her, but then she cut me off with her scooter and I snapped. "Ella watch where you're going! Come on!" She always tries to be the responsible one of the bunch, and I know my comments were frustrating her. She started crying. I decided to stop at Duane Reade to buy her a hat. While we were looking over the hat selection, she insisted she left her hat at school, promised find it, and she didn't need to get a new one. We left the store empty handed. I could tell she was cold. She was trying hard not to cry.
When we got to the school, I locked up her scooter. She waited for me. With tears in her eyes she said, "I don't want to leave you!" I sat down on the curb and gave her a huge hug. I finally softened my heart and said, "Truly, Ella. The hat and the gloves don't mean anything. I'm really sorry for being so annoyed about it. I want you to have a good day. I love you so much." And with a red face and a big smile, her last words to me were, "I'll be alright. I can do this!" She turned, opened the heavy door to her school, and walked in. I scooted off to work.
I arrived to my office three minutes early. All the rushing, pit stops and cheering up didn't make me late. Actually, I could have had a few more moments with my kids. I hope instead of sulking over a missing hat or glove, I would have spent those moments shouting, "I love you, too!" for all the world to hear. Monday. I'll get my chance.