It’s Hard To Stay Cheerful
By Kenna McHugh
I gulp down my cup of coffee, telling my 8-year-old son, “Finish your breakfast and get dressed for school. I don’t want to be late.” He appears to ignore me. He wrestles the dog and whines, “The cereal is too crunchy and hard to eat. Why can’t we have Cheerios or Rice Krispies?”
Since the caffeine is kicking in, I’m able to laugh, “Because that stuff will rot your teeth and plug you up.” I send him off to his room and hope he gets dressed. I’m putting his cereal in a baggie to eat on the way when his 15-year old sister bursts into the kitchen, still in her pajamas. “My sweater has a rip! I need you to fix it!”
“We need to leave for school in 7 minutes. I can’t fix it right now, honey.” She screams, “I need to wear this sweater…what am I going to wear?” She turns back to her bedroom and slams the door.
My blood is boiling. I tamp down my own scream and count “One, one thousand, two, two thousand…Is this important enough to scream about, right now?” Duke Ellington once said, “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”
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I want to do my best. Though, in this moment, I’m mad and want to yell, “I am not appreciated for all my hard work and blah, blah, blah.” But, that wouldn’t help the situation. I make a mental note to confront my kids about getting ready for school later today when we are not in a rush to get out the door.
Counting to ten helped, and I do feel better. I hand the bag of cereal to my son, “Your shirt is on backwards.” He smiles, showing me the dimple I love so much, and turns his shirt around. He grabs the bag of cereal, starts eating, and seems to have forgotten about Cheerios and Rice Krispies.
I head to my daughter’s room. I find a route to her closet despite the mounds of clutter on the floor. We look through her tops and find an alternative, promising, “I will help you fix your sweater this evening, okay?” She gives me best silent look, puts on her top and heads out of her bedroom without a second thought to her stuff strewn across her floor. “How does she do that?”
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I keep my eye on my mom goal, and get them to their respective schools. I have an appointment at the gym after I drop them off. It will be my time, my way, and the best way I can get through all my mornings that seem to resemble this one.