Drop-Off / by Kate Brightbill


The first month of kindergarten, Brian and I both wanted to be the one at school drop-off, every morning. I wanted to volunteer to help with drop-off, which meant an earlier drop-off time. Before Sophie started kindergarten, I planned to make fabulous breakfasts daily, bento packed lunches, read one Bible story before school, and have beds made and kitchens cleaned before heading out the door. I spent the first month of school doing Sophie's hair with adorable, smooth braids, or a high ponytail with carefully affixed fabulous barrettes. I planned to get up earlier than everyone and shower before drop-off, so I could look bright and cheerful while greeting other parents and kids outside the school.

My how things have changed.

On average, I hit the snooze button... thrice. I get up and really try hard to make Sophie want to get out of her bed, hypocritically, I might add. Dark mornings under fluffy white covers should not be disturbed, in my opinion. Cereal or yogurt for breakfast daily {except for me- I make a small breakfast burrito for myself every day, usually AFTER drop-off of course}. The girls' hair is sometimes brushed, sometimes combed through with my fingers, and always done while Sophie is eating breakfast-- OR actually, sometimes I have to get that done on our walk to school. About once a week, her bed is made before school {in fairness, this has 99% to do with the top bunk bed factor!}, and Bible reading with the kiddos is always at night. 

Isn't it funny how we always expect things to be different than they really are? We expect ourselves to be the ones who can break the mold. I laughed at myself this morning, as I took my un-showered, makeup-less self to drop-off, leaving the lunch-packing ingredients on the counter awaiting my return, laundry to fold littering the hallway, my own usually-perfectly-made bed a vision of thrown covers and pj's tossed...

I was thinking back to last summer, and was reminded of my inability to comprehend how mothers cannot make simple mornings smooth-sailing and tidy. You have to live it to believe it, perhaps?

And maybe, just maybe the "live it to believe it" concept spreads through experiences through the years?

  • "Oh, they say marriage is hard? Doubt it. I'm sure it's just because they don't get along and REALLY love each other like we do..."
  •  "They're saying having a baby makes sleeping hard? Ohh, no biggie... I'll just take a nap and be fully functioning since babies sleep all day anyway. During the baby's other naps, I'll probably be keeping my home immaculate and working part-time with excellence."
  • "Toddlers have tantrums? And sometimes in public? Ah, must be the parenting. tsk" 
  • "They say keeping the home clean with kids is challenging? Maybe they're lazy?"
  • "Rumor has it that having a school-age child can be a juggle? Oh they must be over-booking..." 

Sound familiar? I know I'm not the only one who has had these thoughts because I've heard them spoken aloud on more than a few occasions {yikes, sometimes with regard to my own poorly managed moments as a mother}.

The truth is, I really cannot know challenges people face until they become my own. I heard a saying recently that we tend to offer quick judgment toward others, and extend extra grace to ourselves. Oh how I wish I was the exception to that rule. 

Now that I've learned that drop-off is not quite what I imagined, I'm embracing the chaos. I don't really even mind our scattered mornings... Dare I say-- I like them? I like knowing we're all in it together, doing our best to do life "right." I like that these are the days and the memories I'll be gripping when it's peaceful and immaculate here again. Obsessing over doing mornings seamlessly and beautifully isn't the way to go during these years.

Ps. All that said, I'm basically thrilled Brian is taking Sophie to school tomorrow. I'll probably hit that snooze button a fourth time, for good measure. ;)


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