Dear Parents Who Get Their Kids Ready For School,
Put down your coffee and pat yourself on the back, because you are the unsung hero of weekday mornings, and I'm here to remind you how much of a rock star you are.
Yes, you. Rock star.
Five mornings a week, you peel yourself from the snuggly embrace of your warm, comfy bed at zero-dark-thirty, no matter how tired you are. You hobble and stumble until you can walk upright like an actual human. All this just to do the one thing you will never be fully comfortable doing: waking a sleeping child.
From the day we become parents, we go to great lengths to avoid disturbing the peace and quiet of a child's slumber — yet here you are, day after day, rousing reluctant kids, incurring the ensuing sleepy, grumpy wrath. It doesn't matter that these same children are awake (and chipper) before the sun on a weekend; on school mornings, they act as though someone has superglued their pajamas to the sheets, and you get the pleasure of convincing them it's time to get a move on.
You also get to make sure they don't look like they crawled out of a gutter. You know where all the jeans without holes are and keep a mental inventory of which socks and underwear are "itchy" or "bunchy." You remember that they have to wear their school colors every third Tuesday of the month, which outfits they've already worn this week, and where you last saw their favorite t-shirt. You provide them with options that aren't stinky, stained, or ill-fitting. You make their hair lay down or stand up, even though you'd probably have better luck braiding your cat. Every morning, you do this.
You give them breakfast. You cook things they wrinkle their noses at and field complaints about the type of cereal or the lack of orange juice or the temperature/texture/grossness of whatever you put before them. You do this while your own stomach growls, because you're far too busy to put your needs first.
You do this while your own stomach growls, because you're far too busy to put your needs first.
You make sure lunches are packed or paid for, and folders and planners and permission slips are signed, and homework is done and in backpacks. You help find shoes that always seem to be missing, even though they'd be readily available if the kids would just! Put them! Where! They go! In the first place! You locate lost gloves, hats, and scarves that the kids literally look at without seeing.
You shuttle them to the bus stop or all the way to school, on sunny days and in torrential downpours and on days when school probably should have been canceled due to ice or snow. You deal with the insanity of school drop-off, navigate morning traffic, and silently plead with stoplights to be green when you need them to be green.
Every day, every week, you do these things. And you do them on a timeline (which may be the most impressive thing of all, because asking kids to hurry up in the mornings is as effective as asking Jell-O to be less jiggly). And you do them through sleep deprivation — because chances are, you were up late the night before catching up on laundry or packing lunches. Through hunger. Through colds. Through inclement weather. You're like the postman, always pressing on, no matter what. And you do it all for kids who act like you're sending them off to watch paint dry.
So raise up that coffee mug, you caffeine-fueled daybreak dynamo, because you deserve a toast. And I don't mean the kind that the kids refused to eat this morning. Although now that I think about it — you deserve that kind of toast too. Your very own fresh piece, not the cold, stale leftovers from their breakfast plates.