"MAMA!!!! I can't find my cupcake book!"
I check the clock. It's 7:39 on Friday morning. On school/work days, our mornings are scheduled down to the minute. We must be in the car, buckled in, and on the road by 7:45am at the latest in order to get to school and work on time.
"I want to bring my cupcake book to school today!"
Lila hasn't read her cupcake book for months but for some reason, five minutes before we have to leave, she needs her cupcake book now. I quickly weigh out my decision-- a few minutes of looking for the cupcake book would be much better than a cranky, crying child for an entire car ride. I quickly join Lila in her room and we go through each and every paperback book on her shelf.
No cupcake book.
At this point, it's 7:50am.
"Lila, we will have to find the cupcake book after school. We have to go... now."
Lila's face scrunches up, bottom lip pokes out, and her eyes fill with tears.
"Lila! Don't start. Pick out another book and let's go!" I say firmly, very aware of the minutes flying by. We are definitely going to be late.
Fastforward to drop off. We arrive at 8:30am. I am supposed to be in my office at my computer at 8:30am. I fly out of the car over to Lila's door. I quickly unbuckle her and the tears start up again.
"But Mama, I don't have a book for school today!"
I pick up the first book I see on the floor of the car and thrust it into her arms. "Let's go!"
I rush into the building with Lila dragging along behind me. I hang up her bag and coat in her cubby and sign the sign in sheet. Lila is lingering outside of the classroom door, looking down at the floor.
I kneel down in front of her. "Lila, Mommy has to go to work now, okay? I will see you later." I give her a kiss on the forehead. She starts crying again.
"Lila, look at the clock. It's late now. I really have to go, but I will be back early today to pick you up."
She continues to cry. At this point, her teacher takes over. I give her one more hug and zoom out the door.
At work over coffee, I complain to my co-worker, another working mom, about how Lila gave me a hard time this morning. I go on with my busy day.
Then, I hear the news-- Twenty children (and six adults) are killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty children woke up that morning, got dressed, brushed their teeth, said good-bye to their parents/caregivers, and went to school like any other morning. But, on this day, they won't be going home.
I am no longer aware of the time. My mental to-do list disappears.
My mind immediately goes back to Lila-- her crying and me rushing out of the door. All I want to do is hug her. I want to go back in time and give her those few extra moments that she obviously needed from me.
My heart aches for the families and community affected by this tragedy. I find myself hugging and kissing Lila a little more than usual and staying in her bed after storytime a bit longer than before.
The minutes do seem to fly by in our busy lives, but my hope today is to create moments with my family that are lasting.
...And not so rushed.