My son was in kindergarten and I had this thing to go to at his school. At work, I had just realized a big annual meeting for our whole department was scheduled at the same time. How did I miss that? How did I not realize it was the exact same time?
As a responsible and professional bread-winner, I knew I couldn’t miss the meeting. My decision was made. Like a mature adult, I told my boss I would be attending the meeting. I experienced a wave of relief as I sincerely expressed my commitment to my job and our team.
I will never forget the words of my boss (Mr. Roger Ludwig): “No! You need to go to your son’s thing - it’s more important.” Really? That’s not what I expected. Was I wrong in my decision? Was I not doing the right thing? There it was, the nagging knot in my stomach returned as my pathetic-parent punishment. With a deep breath of guilt, I took off.
In heels and a dress, I jogged across the school parking lot and down the long hallway, moments before the function was set to begin. There he was - my son Chad was standing at the door of his classroom with one other little boy.
The teacher asked the boy at the door to come on in. With staunch conviction, he replied “She said she’s coming! She’ll be here in a minute.” as he stood his ground with watchful eyes.
Chad gave me a corsage he made of paper flowers and placed a napkin and cookie on my personalized paper place mat. “Tea or lemonade?” he asked before serving a tiny plastic cup of tea.
The children excitedly gathered in front of the classroom ready for their song. I slipped over to the little boy still in the doorway to see if I could persuade him to join us. He declined and took another quick look down the hallway, with a heart still half full of hope.
My heart hurt for the mom of the little boy in the doorway. I’m sure she had no idea what she missed or how loudly her absence filled the room. Humbled, I knew that I was so close to being that mom.
So there it is moms. In case your boss never tells you (and by the way, thank you so much Roger!), I want to tell you - Don’t miss the good stuff. Savor the moments. Soak it up, bask in it, and let the love of your babies feed your spirit. The struggle to find balance will never cease, but err on the side of those whose heart you hold. And as often as you possibly can, show up at the doorway.
Chad is now 25 and married. I once asked him if he remembered the Kindergarten Mother’s Day Tea that so impacted me as a young mother. He said “No, not really.”