Every time one of us walks out the front door there is a chance that we won’t return through it. And yet we go about our day assuming that we will.
But what if the thin thread that holds all of this together were to unravel? I’d hate for my daughter’s inheritance to be an exasperated, “why are we always waiting for you?” Or for my son to remember that my parting thoughts were to “put away your shoes! Now!”
There is so very much to do so early every weekday morning. Feed the dogs, feed the kids, pack the lunches – wait, did I remember to eat breakfast? Might I even get one little task crossed off my “to do” list? It’s enough to make a mother raise her voice.
Sometimes in the morning’s mayhem they are lost, the reasons why I poke and prod, and alert the kids of the passing minutes. Why can’t I hold my tongue? Why do I hold my children to account even first thing in the morning? Because I love them of course.
Outside of my home, holding others to account is optional. But in our private family world, holding my kids to account is not. Because I love them. And, while the days can be painfully long, the years I have to inculcate them into believing my standards are the ones with which they must comply… well, those are short, short, short.
Being loved – at least being loved by me – means being called on your… stuff. “Turn the light off in your room when you exit. Waste is bad.” “Make your own breakfast.” “Pick up your clothes and don’t let the privilege of having a housekeeper make you lazy or entitled.” “Be responsible, respectful and use your privilege for good.” My messages are clear. I repeat them, Often.
And while I know my children’s feelings are their business and it’s certainly not up to me to tell them what to feel, it is, my job to guide them on how best to express what’s in their hearts and heads.
Why else would I care that my kids be considerate and not keep people waiting? “We are not a late family,” I repeat ad nauseam, still hopeful they will internalize the lesson.
For what other earthly reason would I practically beg my children to undertake the Herculean task of getting their shoes all the way to their closets instead of just doing it myself? Because I am not raising absent-minded professors or negligent citizens. Every morning’s request, command and plea is just another way of saying “I love you.” I hope that, upon reflection, that they will hear it as such.
Now go make it a great day. Ya never know… it could be your last.