It’s four minutes to six. We’re sitting at a blinking yellow stoplight, waiting to make a left turn to get to baseball practice. I’m watching the steady stream of oncoming traffic, feeling new muscles tense at the thought of running behind, coming off the heels of piano. If I could just get them there, I can go home and enjoy some solitary moments while making dinner.
There is bickering coming from the backseat. By most respects, they’re still small people; their voices should be small. But they aren’t. They’re big, and relentless, and grating. Those voices fight for the attention I should be paying to the road. Why are they doing this? Why are they continuing to do this after I have repeatedly asked them to stop? They clearly have no idea.
They have no idea that while they’re bickering about Grace not sharing her lollipop with Michael, I’m fumbling in my purse for the pair of socks my son needs to wear with his cleats…socks he doesn’t even realize he needs. And cleats he needed to be reminded to bring.
They have no idea that while Grace was practicing piano, I was sitting in my car checking calendars and scheduling our lives.
They have no idea that while they were having an after-school snack and neglecting my “x amount of minutes until we leave” warnings, I was readying piano books and baseball gear. Like that pair of socks.
They have no idea that while shuttling them home from school and being blinded by the sun, I realized I left my sunglasses on the field as I tried to video-record Michael’s outdoor May ceremony earlier that day. And in my haste to get to the ceremony on time, I had neglected to put on sunscreen, resulting in a rosy pink sunburn on my shoulders.
They have no idea that the reason I was leaving at the last minute to get to the May ceremony was because I was trying to finish a freelance job I picked up for extra money. Extra money my husband and I hope to use to take the family to Disney World.
They have no idea that I lost precious working time this morning when I went up to school for an event Grace’s class was having, only to find out it had been rescheduled for two days later…and Grace had simply neglected to inform me of the change.
They have no idea that every morning when I check my schedule, most of it is directly related to them. And now I’m sitting here, trying to make a left turn in rush hour traffic, and I’m the only one concerned that we are going to be late for one of their activities. Right now, all they seem to care about is hating each other, ignoring my pleas for silence, and that damned lollipop. They have zero appreciation for anything I have done for them today.
Then I see it. A small opening in traffic. If I can squeeze through and make this turn, we might just get to practice on time. But can I make it? Those cars are coming awfully fast. But the sooner I get there, the sooner I can hand them over to someone else. And I can have time to myself. I think I can make it…
…But if I don’t make it, time to myself may be all I have left. And when I check my schedule every morning, I might only be able to wish all of it could be directly related to them.
In an instant, getting to practice on time doesn’t seem to matter. And neither does the fact that they’re still arguing over a lollipop instead of marveling at the sacrifices I make for them everyday. Because I still get to make sacrifices for them. There is no way in hell I am going to let the last thing I ever hear from them be a pointless fight or the last thing I feel for them be extreme annoyance.
So I let the light turn red. I let the clock tick past six. And they still have no idea.
But that’s how real love stories go.
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