I wake up each morning with the same mantra bouncing around in my head. Today I will not yell. And I mean it.
I wake up my three darling children, snuggle them close in a good morning hug, breathe in their sweetness and I am overwhelmed by the immense love I feel for them.
I look at their tousled bed heads and sleepy faces and I just want to smother them in kisses. I am filled with gratitude for these short, little people.
And then I say, “It’s time to get ready for school.”
And they stand frozen, as though time is standing still. But it is not.
I repeat myself, a little louder, just in case their sweet little ears are still filled with the sweet sounds of their sweet dreams and they didn’t hear me.
“It’s time to get ready for school.”
They stare right through me, as though I am invisible, and continue to do nothing. NOTHING.
So I say it again, a little louder still.
And their heads cock and their eyes slowly find mine and I am shooting them subliminal messages with my eyes, willing them with every fibre of my being, to move.
And eventually they do but at a pace slower than sloths and they dress as though they have a thousand years, and it is all I can do to hold it together.
We finally make it down the stairs, cereal is selected, milk is poured, and eating commences. For a second. And then there is talking. So.Much.Talking. And no eating. But there needs to be eating or there will be hunger. And hunger leads to hanger.
And the last thing I want to subject their teachers to are my hungry hangry children. Bless them.
So I say, “Okay, time to eat up loves. We need to leave in 20 minutes.”
While 20 minutes is a perfectly reasonable amount of time in which to eat a bowl of cereal, apparently, for my beloved offspring, it is not.
I gently remind them again.
All the while being secretly proud of myself for how well I’m keeping my shizzle together. For the calm and peace that I’m exuding from every pore. I feel the zen swirling around me, encompassing me, the sun starts to peek in through the window, shining dappled rays upon my children’s golden heads and happiness abounds.
But now it is 5 minutes to ‘go time’ and bowls are still not empty and socks are still not on and the feeling starts to dissipate, ever so slightly.
“Okay guys, time’s up, we need to get going.”
And no one moves. It’s strange, because I was certain that I had used my outside voice, but maybe I’m mistaken.
I say it again. A little louder.
My children have suddenly become entranced with reading whatever the heck is sitting in the random pile of papers that never seems to disappear off my counter no matter how many times I clear it, and I wonder if I’ve walked into an episode of The Twilight Zone.
“Come on guys, we need to go.”
I look to the dog, who is staring at me expectantly, her tail wagging, and I know that she has at least heard me.
I try again.
Crickets. I’m starting to get worried. Have they shoved Cheerios into their ears when I wasn’t looking? Have they ruptured their ear drums? Have they been afflicted by some weird virus, rendering them temporarily deaf? Or worse, permanently?
“Hello? Can anyone hear me?” My voice wobbles, the adrenaline beginning to course through my veins, the panic slowly rising.
But now there is talking, and for a brief euphoric moment I feel heard. Relief washes over me, until I realize, they are not talking to me. They are talking amongst themselves and they are oblivious to my presence. Their butts still firmly planted in their chairs. Except for kid #3, who just never stops moving.
And suddenly I have transformed. My eye is twitchy, my face is blotchy, and I’ve lost my zen. I’ve become the Anti-Zen.
“WE NEED TO GO. NOW!”
There is shock and awe, and wailing, and hurt feelings, and so many tortured souls.
“Why are you yelling at us?” They ask.
“Because I’ve told you 5 times, we.need.to.go.” And my teeth are clenched and I’m speaking ever so softly now.
And then they tell me the strangest thing, “But we didn’t hear you!”
And this is why I must yell.