Today like every day, I wake up and think, “I'm lucky. I'm happy. I'm not going to get mad at my husband, my four kids or our two dogs Buster Brown and Chewbacca (“Chewie”). But usually I'm fighting the urge to yell before breakfast is over. The morning routine never gets easier. I try to run a full inspection of clean teeth, hair and clothes, a dose of sunscreen, a refreshed water bottle, completed homework, and shoes. My son states, “I don't have PE so I don't need any shoes today.” I sigh, “Well, we're shoe people. Get your sneakers!” Next, my daughter shows me video evidence of the puppy eating half of her homework. I jot a quick note to the teacher on the shredded sheet and tell my little girl to hand it in. I wonder why she filmed it all happening without stopping it. I can hear her chuckling in the background of the video.
As I walk out in my exercise clothes, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I have not yelled at anyone. I'm not squinting my eyes in a menacing way either. Two kids have the right clothes and gear for the tennis tryouts after school. As I'm dropping three of the kids, my daughter looks up from her phone and announces, “I wish they had school buses in Hawaii so I could ride with my friends and not a bunch of losers!” My eye twitches.
I just spent an hour in traffic to drive eight miles to the school. In our family of six, we have more electronics than the FBI. All eyeballs and thumbs have been on their devices the whole ride. I don't know where the loser comment is coming from. Since my kids consider all their content to be strictly classified and highly confidential, I pass on asking. Instead I wink at her and say, “Have a nice day, happiness hijacker.” She rolls her eyes, smiles and says, “I was just kidding. You too.”
After drop off, I squeeze in a hike. I love the views in Hawaii and they help me put things into perspective. Time slows down for that small window and I feel grateful. Then I'm ready to solve a million small issues thrown in my path. As a working mom, I'm in constant motion and always tired by the time I start the afternoon pick-ups.
Today, when I pick my son up from school, he asks, “Mom do you know how lucky we are? If we were predators we would have to run after our food to catch it every day. That would be very tiring. My friends and I think that the adults would get sick of chasing the fast running grown-ups and start to eat the unguarded babies. Would you do that? Also, imagine if there were lions at our school and we had to run our very fastest to class so we would not get eaten? We are so lucky to be humans. I like today.”
I start to laugh. I'm energized. As I cook three different dinners on the stove for my particular eaters who need their food prepared in specific ways, I just smile, appreciating I did not have to catch it. Then I notice that there are no tigers in any closets waiting to take me out as I put the last bits of laundry away. I leave the day, despite all the machinations and challenges, with the same basic sentiments I started with. “I am happy that I don't have to catch my food. I'm lucky to be a human. And, I'm not mad at anyone.”