It's a school morning and we're running late, as usual. I zip up the boys' coats as they wiggle into them and I huff and puff as the zipper buzzes up.
Next up, grab the backpacks, break up two fights, wrestle with lunch boxes and throw open the front door. The children spill out, pushing around me to dart down our porch steps. "Don't go running around the yard, we need to get into the car!" I shout.
They pretend that they can't hear me and off they run into the grass while I scowl and lock the front door. They're laughing and karate chopping and the cold morning air mixes with my frustration and it seems to snap up my neck.
I fuss and herd them into the car, as if they were free range chickens and I was an angry mama hen. I then fight with the car seats, break up two more arguments and fall into the driver's seat, slamming the door shut. We drive to school in a flash and by the time I drop them off at their classrooms, I am exasperated.
Does it have to be so hard? I wonder.
In light of recent events, I have a new goal for myself. Slow down and enjoy every single moment with my kids, even the crazy ones. Because in all the morning chaos there are small moments of connection that I'm just too busy to notice.
Like the way that my youngest son lifts up his chin to look at me while I fight with the zipper on his jacket. His small hand covers mine. "I'll help you, mama." He's eager to help but we're running late so I brush his hand impatiently off of the zipper and pull it up tight. That moment, where he showed me his generous spirit, is gone.
I need to grant him that minute and let him help me zip up the coat.
When they spill out the front door, it is with a burst of joy and excitement before their school day starts. They live in the moment and in that moment, they are ninjas. I need to let them kick hard into the air. Let a loud "HI-YA" echo through the neighborhood streets.
Who am I to stifle pretend ninjas? There will come a day when my ninjas are all grown up and I'll miss seeing their amazing karate chops fly in the front lawn.
I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, mostly because I break them within two minutes of making them. Yet, this year feels different.
I'm holding my kids tighter and telling myself that it's okay if we're 5 minutes late sometimes. I vow to treasure those extra 5 minutes, a stolen moment to truly enjoy our life together. Because we all know that life is fragile. This may be the most important resolution I've ever attempted to make.
Do you have a New Year's Resolution for your family? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.