So…This morning as I was struggling to get all four kids in their various stages of car seats, I ended up dropping my car keys….on the ground….whilst holding one week old Juli’s blankies, two year old Caleb’s night night blankie, a water bottle, a small diaper bag, and my phone stuffed haphazardly in my shirt. Absentmindedly, I asked six year old Jack to grab them as I tossed all the things in the van where they belonged and finished buckling Juli.
Then Jack got in and sat down in his booster….and the keys were no where to be found.
ME: “…BUT WHERE are the KEYS!”
JACK: “Ummm I…don’t know”
I questioned again.
He got back up, looked in four year old Maggie’s seat 50 feet away (exaggeration for emphasis.) He hadn’t even been near there! He looked in Caleb’s seat. He hadn’t been near there either.
…and I got angry. I felt annoyed. I was tired.
I felt he was just dawdling. I questioned him more and more. Yet he was still unable to tell me where they were. The more I asked, the less he spoke.
His bottom lip quivered.
The keys were gone.
The phone said 7:30.
I had wasted too much time.
Now we would be late getting Maggie to preschool.
I dug around for the spare house key, stormed into the house, searched aimlessly for the other set hidden in the living room couch (thanks, Caleb), slammed the door and hopped back into the van to pull off, still steaming at Jack for losing the keys.
Moreover, I was steaming from all of the mama-guilt and frustration from trying to help him find his voice over the years and overcome his severe speech impediment. He has never been able to communicate under pressure… and a set of lost keys took his verbal skills down to a few sniffles and a bare minimum of one syllable words.
Yet I still found myself venting at him angrily from the front seat.
The keys were IN HIS HAND!
I NEEDED them!
It was a SIMPLE REQUEST!
They were RIGHT THERE!
Why couldn’t he REMEMBER!
They would cost $125 to replace!
I probably ran over them as I pulled out!
What kinda mother am I to snap at my six year old!
I was so frustrated that I didn’t even have our usual morning pep chat with him. We just rode in near silence after we dropped off Samantha.
And then…. I let him out in carline.
ME: ::::gritting my teeth::::: “Have a good day. I love you.”
JACK: “I love you, Mama.”
He said it clear. Those three magical words I waited for over four years to hear for the first time – I love you.
And he said his “Y” sound the best I had ever heard him. He said the “yuh” initial consonant sound with blatant clarity for the first time in his entire six years of life.
I noticed he had put on his favorite shirt today – Agent Stache, with the Platypus guy on it. A deep grey one. I have no idea what cartoon it’s from…just that he had another one that he loved and grew out of so I bought him more in this year’s size. His thick hair was kinda shabby, shuffled around in front by his hair twirling habit. His bean pole legs and knobby knees shot out from under his tan cargo shorts (a side effect from a recent growth spurt I assumed).
Then he pulled his lime green Avenger bookbag out of the car, smiled at me, and walked alone into the cafeteria. With his back to me. Then he disappeared into the school, chin up, bravely.
And my heart broke.
I wanted to race after him and grab him up. But I couldn’t.
Later as I was getting Juli out of the car, I found the keys cuddled in her little hand.
Her car seat is in the second row beside Jack so I assume he had just set them down on the edge of her seat when he stepped in the van to sit in his booster….and they slipped down unnoticed.
Something I myself have done a million times over the years! 😞
I was anxious all day to pick him up.
And then I pulled back into carline…
He smiled at me.
JACK: “Hey mama! Hey my sweet sweet Juli! Where is Sam and Marshall?”
ME: “They are back at the house with Aunt Ann. How was your day, bud?”
JACK: “It was good. We had science in Ms D’s classroom. And we had art today!”
We discussed a few more tidbits about school. And my heart was still breaking.
ME: “Hey…” ::::turning off the radio:::: “Mommy is so so sorry for snapping at you this morning. I was tired and felt angry…It was very wrong of me to take it out on you like that. My heart has been sad all day from being mean to you like that when you didn’t deserve it. Will you please forgive mommy?”
Jack smiled at me as I glanced at him in the rear view.
JACK: “Yesss…It’s ok, mama.”
ME: “Mommy is just so so sorry. I wanted to run into Ms H’s room earlier and scoop you up and squeeze you. But that probably would have embarrassed you, huh?”
JACK: ::::grinning, tucks head down:::: “Um…Yeah.”
ME: “Do you know where I found the keys? In Juli’s fingers! She was keeping them safe!”
Jack’s eyes met mine thru the rear view and we both giggled.
JACK: “Did you think she was going to drive away? Maybe she was going to make the car FLY away. Into the sky. Like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
We were both laughing by then as we started talking about other silly things in life for the rest of the drive home.
And then he reminded me that he wanted a hair cut. And asked me if I needed help with Juli as we got out of the van. Then he spied Maggie’s shoes in the back seat and grabbed them for her because she was in the house with Aunt Ann and she might want them to go play outside now that he was home.
And then he hugged me.
I was never ever more happy to get forgiveness from someone than I was at that one particular moment!