When I really feel stressed and frustrated I have an embarrassing, terrible way of losing my temper and yelling. It isn't often but boy do I hate it when it happens and regret it like crazy. My worst time for this behavior is the morning, when it sometimes feels like I'm herding cats. At the beginning of the school year I made a goal for myself to not yell. I am happy to say that while the number of times I've had to bite my tongue (literally a couple of times), walk away, or let someone go to school looking like a ratty mess are countless, my mornings of yelling add up to exactly1, and I've got to be honest that the only way that that incident could have been avoided was if the Earth would have just swallowed me up.
This morning was no different than any other, my girls were all going in different directions, needing different things without any real urgency to get to school. My year long practice really, really paid off because I didn't feel stressed and I never even kind of felt like yelling. We piled into the car, late but with enough time to make it to school on time. Our school has no drop off lane or parking lot where you can safely drop off kids. There's no way of adding one either so you just have to be super careful when you drop off. Cars are kind of weaving in and out, then stopping, kids are jumping out and running into school. At times it feels like controlled chaos but mostly it works out just fine. Except this morning. I pulled up next to another car, opened the van door and told the girls I loved them. Eleanor jumped out and in that moment the car next to me started to back up. It was horrible, the driver was looking straight ahead, and Eleanor was walking right into the path of her car. I yelled Ellie's name so loudly that my throat hurts this afternoon. Ellie jumped back into the car. My heart was pounding, her heart was pounding, nobody spoke a word. When it was safe both girls got out and and ran into school. I drove away, tears stinging my eyes, and giving thanks the whole time that what could have happened had not.
My goal at the beginning of the year came from a place in which I desired not to let the frustrations that so often present themselves in the morning stand in the way of the grace and love I want my kids to feel each morning as they prepare for their days. In that awful little moment this morning I was once again reminded that every day is a gift and that wasting them angry about dirty laundry on the floor, unmade beds or messy hair is silly.