I start to make and pack her lunch. She says she needs hot tea. I put on some water and rummage for a thermos. I am making her breakfast. She wants cereal. I think she needs some protein for the big day. We discuss. I start making her a scrambled egg. At the same time I am trying to make myself breakfast. She tells me she needs to bring a couple of snacks as well.
As I write this I can feel the anxiety and tension increasing in my body. I'm pretty sure at some point I looked at her and said, "One thing at a time."
Somehow, the next time I glance at the clock we are late. I start yelling. Get your socks on. Put your plate in the sink. Get your snow pants on. We're going to be late! (Even as I am saying this aloud I know that the 5 or 10 minutes we might be late will not make a difference in the morning.)
She decides to play. "Mama, let's play school." What?!? "The babies need to go to school." I hear myself scream, "We don't have time to play. I asked you to get your socks on. Why is your plate still on the table?"
I pause. I am noticing my own behavior. "I don't like yelling at you in the morning."
"I don't like it when you yell at me in the morning." She replies without skipping a beat.
We look at each other. I want to laugh at how ridiculous this is. I stop and really look at her. We both try to suppress a grin. It is enough to break the spell.
I go over to her. She is standing on her chair. I take her in my arms gently and ask, "What needs to happen?"
"You go first." She is stalling. She wants to give the right answer, but I imagine I've given her too much to do right now.
"Socks. Plate. Snow pants." And then, "I love you. I'm sorry I was yelling."
As I write these words now, I reflect back on my own childhood. My mother yelling. Me feeling small, shamed and confused. I do not remember hearing my mother apologize. Ever. I wonder what my daughter will remember.
Back to this morning. Working together we make it out the door. Late, but not too late. Snow pants. Gloves. Hat. Tea. Water. Lunch. Snacks. Everything is in the backpack. "Will you come in with me and make sure we get on the bus okay?"
We are reconnected.
I am filled with gratitude.