I yelled at my daughter today.
I know, I know...what else is new.
Every morning, she sleeps in till the absolutely latest possible moment then she moves like molasses - oozing down the ladder of her bunk bed, across the floor to her closet, and through the hall to the bathroom where she stays forever despite the fact that she's only 6. (My God, what could a 6 year old be doing in there for 20 minutes!)
Well today is "Winter Concert"at school and I wanted all of the kids to be dressed and ready with plenty of time to spare so they could focus on the excitement of the concert and their "lines" rather than the proximity of shoes and the need for pants. I'm a performer. I know the value of being in a great mood before going on stage. It really makes a difference. Okay...it's only an elementary school concert...but my only personal memory of a holiday concert is from kindergarten when I barfed under the school's Christmas Tree right before the show and was scooped up and taken home before the curtains even opened. I would like my kids' experience to be a bit more positive than that.
So this morning as Livi was 'oozing,' I started 'seething' and I ripped her "a new one." "LIVI! COME ON! IF YOU CAN'T HURRY UP, YOU WON'T BE IN THE CONCERT! YOU'RE RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE! IT'S NOT FAIR! COME ON, HURRY UP!!" I saw the light disappear from her face. She got on her shoes and made it out the door. I felt like crap.
On the way to school she sat quietly between her brother and sister and didn't make a peep. I think I saw her talking to herself - a sure sign of the dementia I was obviously causing. I could see on her face I had taken away whatever enthusiasm she might have had for the day. I was the worst mommy for sure.
We were late for school so I had to use the drop off lane rather than park and walk them inside.
"I love you!" I said to her as she picked her backpack off the front seat.
"I love you too." She parroted.
"I'm not mad anymore, honey. I just want us to work well as a family. I need you to move faster in the morning. Okay?"
She nodded silently.
As my kids emptied the car, Livi kissed me with equally empty eyes. All happiness vacated.
I rolled down the front window because I wanted to say more, but the woman at the gate was shooing me to keep moving and I had make room for the next car in line.
I watched her walk inside, dejected.
My stomach ached. She was so sad. I was so sad. I just wanted her to get ready for school at least as efficiently as her brother and sister (which isn't even that efficiently). We had done everything we could to avoid this fight. Her outfit was planned ahead of time. I even toasted chocolate chip waffles as motivation to get out of bed. What more could a mom do?!
But the more I thought about her and how I had ruined Holiday Concert day for her, the worse I felt.
I circled the block and parked.
I went into the school walked straight to her class. They were on the carpet discussing long vowels.
"Mr. Skye? Can I borrow Livi for a minute?" He nodded and she turned, smiled SO HUGE and came over to the door.
I got down on my knees to look her in the eye and I said "I'm sorry I yelled, Livi. I shouldn't have. I was wrong."
She forgave me and we hugged - tight.
We agreed to work on a plan for getting up earlier and as I smoothed the hair away from her eyes and and rounded cheeks I saw them flood again with light.
Yeah, I think they'll have a great concert today and I think they'll have a lot of fun.
Unless someone barfs under the Christmas Tree. But that one's out of my hands.