Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grace in Small Things

Yesterday my six-year-old came home with a backpack stuffed with papers, announcements, homework instructions, assigned books (to read with a parent), notebooks of spelling words to study (with a parent), word games to complete (with a parent), log sheets on which to record all the assigned things we've done each week. I may have cursed someone. (Not her teacher, whom I adore. Some other, nameless, larger force that is intent on filling my life with tedious first-grade homework. This is a broader movement. I blame former President Bush, actually. So maybe the force is not so nameless.)

This morning we woke up to rain and ridiculous wind. (Yet another Wind Advisory, in fact, and a weather forecast of dropping temperatures all day and snow out west.) Genevieve starting throwing a fit about 15 minutes before we were due to leave for the bus stop. It took her 10 minutes longer than usual to put on her socks, shoes, and jacket and get out the door to go wait for Julia's bus. I was sure we were going to miss it. (We didn't.)

She cried, wailed, and yelled all the way down the block, at 7:55 a.m. The wind blew rain in our faces. My umbrella turned inside out twice. I had not had time to grab my coat. My ponytail turned wet and curly. I told Julia to run, because I thought I heard the bus coming. Genevieve trailed behind us, wailing crabbily over everything and nothing.

We got to the bus stop, where everyone else was waiting. They had watched us straggle down the block and heard Genevieve crying the whole way. My neighbor smiled at me over the kids' umbrellas and shook his head knowingly, which made me laugh even as my umbrella turned inside out yet again and Genevieve scowled at everyone. Julia accidentally let go of her umbrella in the outrageous wind and it flew down the street, and my neighbor ran after it and retrieved it for us even though he was carrying a coffee mug and it couldn't have been fun.

When Genevieve and I walked back to the house after the bus came, our useless umbrellas down, our faces and heads and bodies getting wet, and her crying (again) the whole way and dragging her feet against the chilly wind, I felt a little better about things.

Sometimes the most important thing in the world is being reminded that you're not alone in all this parenting drama, that other parents understand--that they see that tantrum and just know in their bones that it's been going on for 20 minutes and you probably had to fight her to get her socks on and you've already threatened no treats for the entire day. And then they go and chase your kid's umbrella down for you when it sails off into the sky and down the street toward the farm field.

Small blessings. (Or maybe not so small, really.)


Mom and Kiddo said...

I find blaming Pres. Bush for things to be very useful. He was probably also behind the wind storm.

I love my mom neighbors, too.

Shan said...

Ah, and this was a DAD neighbor. Who are also very useful. :)

Mnmom said...


Oh Shan I've sooooo been there. And anyone who doesn't understand the complete and udder frustration just doesn't even need your attention. I remember the completely senseless tirades that no amount of parenting skill could top. I swear it's just girls. And sad to report they have only tapered off, not disappeared here.

Rita said...

Ha! Laughing about loud at Mom and Kiddo's comment.

Yes. Best to blame a Bush for all your woes. Good policy!

Paige cried and cried and CRIED this morning because I chose a GREEN paper for her to color instead of a BLUE paper. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME?

I'm a terrible mother. Clearly.

Angel said...

I hear you! Sometimes the smallest gesture from another mom/dad makes the biggest change in my day. :) Especially when they can commiserate with me and my screaming 3-year-old. ;)