Lately, my two oldest kids have walked home from school. That is not a problem, since we just live down the block. I go to pick them all up and as I drive the two smaller ones home, the two bigger ones walk home together. I figure it’s good that they are getting exercise and I am hoping they are bonding a bit on the walk home.
This week the two oldest kids have also gotten dressed and ready to go to school without a fight. Marie has always been easy to get up, for the most part, but for Patrick it’s like pulling teeth out of a lion’s mouth. Very painful and very loud. So when Patrick started getting up on his own and being ready to leave on time, I was shocked and impressed.
When that happens, I have been willing to drive the older two to school early if the other two won’t get out of bed. It’s a reward for the two that got up without a fight and a motivational tool to get the other two sleepy heads out of bed faster. However, I would really like to have all of them up and ready to go at the same time. But beggars can’t be choosers. You know what I mean?
So the other day, I decided to give the two oldest kids some extra independence. They had 15 minutes before school started and instead of driving them there, I gave them the option to walk to school if they wanted to. Personally, I would have ridden to school, considering the fact that it’s an uphill walk. I told them I would drive them, but if they wanted to walk, they could. So they chose to walk to school together.
Having the two older ones walk to school for the first time was a bit scary, but I knew I would be right behind them as soon as I had the other two up and dressed. Plus, I used this opportunity as a way to get the two little ones up faster. I told them that we needed to get moving, so we could beat their siblings to school. They liked the idea of waving at their siblings as they were walking up a hill. LOL Yes, there is much love in our household. LOL
So I got the kids dressed and out the door in record time. There was about 7 minutes left before they were going to be late. We got in the van and headed up the hill. I was a little worried at first when I didn’t see the two older kids walking. But as we got to the top of the hill, we saw them stepping onto the outskirts of the church property.
As we drove by, I slowed down some and rolled down the window. I asked them if they wanted a ride, but they refused. Patrick was several feet ahead of Marie and Marie was whining for him to wait for her. They were carrying their backpacks, which I had offered to bring to school for them, but they declined the offer. So we pulled into the school parking lot and waited for the two older kids to catch up.
As we walked into school together, with 4 minutes to spare, I realized that their tennis shoes were soaked from the morning dew. You see, they didn’t cross the street to walk on the sidewalk, because the morning traffic on that street was busier than normal. So they walked on the side closest to our house and the school…in the wet grass. Yep, Mom messed up on that one. But it was something that could be solved. As I said goodbye to all of them, I promised to return in a minute with some dry shoes and socks to change into.
It wasn’t until I was driving home, that I realized that this was the opportunity I was looking for. My sister had given me this idea, to show my kids what I go through every time they make me late for work. This was the perfect time to give my two oldest kids a little life lesson. So I grabbed their shoes and socks and headed back to school on a mission.
When I got there, I found the kids and helped them get their shoes changed. While I was helping them, each individually, we had the following conversation:
“Hey, remember how you felt walking to school this morning?”, I asked.
They replied, “Yeah.”
Then I said, “How you were sort of stressed and worried about being late for school? And then when you got there, you were really tired and out of breath from the walk?”
Each one of them answered, “Yes, I remember. I was warned out.”
I replied back, “Well, that is the way I feel every time I am late for work, because you won’t get out of bed to get to school on time. So the next time I tell you that I need you to work with me, because I am going to be late for work, I want you to remember this feeling. Then maybe you will be a little more willing to help me out in the morning.”
They nodded their head in agreement.
Then I returned them to their class and walked out of the door, feeling pretty damn pleased with myself. Now, they might not remember this later when I need them to. But for one brief second, they witnessed the type of stress I deal with every time I try to get everyone to their proper places in the morning. It’s like trying to move a mountain sometimes and it really makes me tired. And I wonder why I’m so tired all the time. Maybe from some unnecessary stress???
I would like to give my sister a shout out for the idea. I don’t know what I would do without you, Sis! You really have filled Mom’s shoes well and I’m very thankful for having you in my life.