When all *%# is breaking loose - "Drop Everything"
Sometimes it's hard. Getting the kids out the door in the morning clothed, fed, teeth brushed, hair brushed, lunches packed, water bottles filled, school bags packed, coats, gloves, hats and boots on. And that’s not even when you need to remember the ukulele, library books, pay for pizza lunch, return a permission form, and on and on and on. I try to empower my kids but let’s get real, someone has to make sure the stuff gets done.
There is no doubt that there are many points where even the best planned mornings can go awry. More often than not, I find myself nagging, negotiating, bribing and then finally screaming for some kid to get their butt moving or we are going to be late for school (again). And, I hate myself for not figuring out a better way to help my kids on their way.
A couple of weeks ago, it was one of those mornings. It was a little my fault, I just couldn’t think of anything creative to make for lunch and it was taking way longer than necessary to default to Wow Butter and Jam sandwiches. I melted down in front of my kids. I think there were words said like “I don’t know why I care, you don’t seem too”, “it isn’t me that needs to get to school, do it yourself” and “it isn’t fair that I do all of the work around here”.
As my youngest Rylie, crumpled into sobs (very counterproductive to getting things done), my elder daughter Paige stopped. She has always been very empathetic and when she knows someone is hurting or sad, she feels it. All of the sudden, she walked up to me and said, “Drop Everything”.
At the time, that meant Rylie’s reading log and activity journal that I was going to put into her book bag. I tried to step past Paige to Rylie’s bag and Paige said, “No, Mommy. I said - ‘Drop Everything’”. Sensing something, I put down Rylie’s books on the nearest counter.
“No, Mommy. I said - ‘Drop Everything’”.
Paige looked me in the eyes and simply said “Good Morning” as she wrapped her arms around me. The world kinda stopped. It was the first time we had actually connected that morning amongst the chaos of a weekday morning. I was instantly calm and I found that the entire mood in the house changed. Rylie, not to be left out of a hug, then mimicked “Drop Everything” and gave me a big hug too. After less than a minute, everything had changed and we went on with our morning (and made it to school on time!)
Since that day, we have practiced “Drop Everything”. It really doesn’t matter who initiates it but everyone gets involved. (They even try to get the dog Snickers to ‘Drop Everything’ but that usually entails a kids sock.) Even Dad has been taught that ‘Drop Everything’ does take precedence over anything else we happen to be doing at the time.
I have no doubt that my eight year old has unlocked a secret power at a very young age. It is the power to ground ourselves, to be present and to connect with others. Regardless of the bedlam of our daily lives, there is always time to ‘Drop Everything’ and connect with someone - even if it is just for one minute. Try it yourself!