Every morning, as we're getting ready to go to school, camp, the pool, etc…, I get Harper dressed for the day and strap her in her carseat. I leave her there while I get myself ready to head out the door. This process usually takes between 10-20 minutes. Harper has no problem with this as she is the most laid-back child on earth. When I'm finally ready to begin the painstaking process of getting all four of us in the car and strapped in, I herd the older two kids out the door and into the car with strict instructions: Kids. Focus. No dillydallying. Just get in your seats and buckle your belts. Get in seat. Buckle belt. Simple, right? No. Just ask any parent. No matter what I say, one or both of them is still not buckled by the time I return to the car, Harper's seat slung over my arm and ready to be clicked into her chair.
Why? Why? Why? Why can't they just focus on one task for the 10 seconds it takes to get strapped in? Have I failed them in some way? Are they both suffering from ADD? Why?
This is usually the streaming audio in my head during times such as these when, despite the fact that I'm on time and really don't need to hurry, I feel the intense urge to rush. Rush. Rush. Rush. Sometimes I think this is the plague of the modern mother. No matter where we are or what we're doing, we're in a hurry. It's a tragedy that our kids are paying for. We might as well go ahead and prescribe the anti-anxiety medication for them now.
In the midst of all of this self-inflicted stress, I notice a small white index card placed across Harper's legs that says, in red marker, "I Love You." There's one just about every morning, carefully placed in Harper's car seat along with her stuffed monkey. Its Truman's little love note to his sister. I see this and I tell myself: Breathe. Savor this moment. It's life at its best. And I remember that while my kids may be painfully slow at buckling their seatbelts, they are also overflowing with sweetness and light, humor and joy. How did I get so lucky?