But then there are those mornings when we either sleep in, run late, can't find the new pink socks, or misplace the homework folder. Those are the mornings we rush and run--bumping into each other in the kitchen, in chaos. Those are the mornings we hear the mechanical growl of the school bus as it moves down our street. And we look at each other and know we missed it.
Those are the mornings I grab my keys and my shoes and hustle Lilly out the door to our car.
I secretly love taking Lilly to school--though my radical bedhead and my puffy eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses might tell you otherwise. I love what I see when I take her.
I see grandmas standing beside the chain link fence, watching children run on the playground before the first bell rings. I see dads leaning against the warm brick of the school's east-facing wall. They smile and wave at their children as they line up with their classmates. I see mothers blowing kisses from cars. I see hugging and hand-holding. I see shoes being tied and hair being briskly pushed from foreheads; last minute "tidying up" before the school day officially starts. I see kisses and smiles and high-fives.
I hear, "Have a good day!" I hear, "I love you."
Last fall, I had the opportunity to tour the Eccles Outpatient Services building. It is a beautiful, brand new addition to the Primary Children's Medical Center campus; a breathtaking facility with scenic views of the mountains and Salt Lake valley. The walls are painted in soft, gorgeous shades of baby blue, green, and yellow. The light fixtures resemble balloons floating along the ceiling.
A PR rep for the hospital gave us a tour. As we made our way to a waiting area that would facilitate various mental health related services, she paused, pointed down a hall and said, "We'll also offer a number of classes to parents, to help them with their parenting skills." And then she said candidly, "Because let's face it. Some people just don't know how to parent. They've never learned. They've never been taught how to care for a child."
How grateful I felt in that moment, that such resources were available to people; how sad I felt knowing that they were so desperately needed.
Watch the news and it becomes clear that there are people in our world who don't know how to parent. Read articles online and learn that "bad" parents, sadly, exist in force...And really bad parents sit in jail cells. It is a heartbreaking reality; and children are innocent victims.
I read an article recently about the principles of good parenting. Insights were offered by a brilliant man, a doctor and professor of clinical pediatrics. Interestingly, at the top of his list was the principle: You cannot be too loving.
You cannot be too loving.
I'm so grateful for those mornings. Mornings that are a peculiar dichotomy of chaos and tenderness, anxiety and sweetness! Those mornings when I get to see and hear and remember -- remember that there are good parents and good caregivers in the trenches. Those mornings when I have to take Lilly to school are a small gift to myself.
Because I get the privilege of bearing witness to all that love around me.