I was running about five minutes late. I just had to finish up one thing before I shut my laptop. My laptop felt warm on my legs, a sure sign that it's time to shift gears.
Plus, shoot, I promised J that I'd bring him a sub from his favorite deli shop.
So make that 15 minutes late.
I rolled into the parking lot of my son's school careful to obey the 5mph speed limit. I beamed in the sunshine and warmth. I could barely contain my excitement as I walked briskly into my son's school. I love that moment of transition from work mode to mama mode.
“Hi there, Ashley!” I said to the receptionist with a wide smile.
“Hey there, Marnie, what are you doing here so early?” she asked me.
“I am walking to the park with Room 3,” my heart seem to light on fire as each word exited my mouth.
I skipped down the hallway (well, okay, I didn't skip but I felt like I was skipping), noticing the beautiful inpressionist artwork my son's class created earlier that week.
I get to the classroom as my son's teacher is lining them up to walk outside. My son looks up.
His face fills with rose color.
“What are you doing here, Mom?” he asks under his breath.
“I'm walking with you all to the park for lunch! Are you surprised?”
“Yeah.” HIs eyes darted around his classmates.
“Is that my lunch?” He asks shyly looking up at me.
“Yes! Jersey Mikes, remember? Were you worried that you wouldn't have lunch?”
I don't think he hears my question.
“Are you going to stay with us?”
“Yeah, I thought…it's so beautiful out…there aren't any other parents…” my voice trailed off on observation.
I pulled him aside and crouched down to meet his eyes.
“It's okay to tell me you'd like me to go.”
“It won't hurt my feelings. I just wanted no to spend time with you and your friends.”
“I really just want to spend time with my friends right now, mom.”
I tucked away my tears and remembered that unlike his toddler and preschool years, my soon to be third grader didn't express himself so outwardly. There is a lot going on in his still developing brain that I can't see.
I see it now.
I've been a parent for 8 years. Nothing, except mindset, prepares me for the next stage. The only answer I can possibly push forth at this point is connection.
Staying connecting with your child has always been a challenge, like since the beginning of time. Particularly these days, though, the concept of connection, to our kids at least, has shifted and not for the good of us all.
We have to find our way to connection in the real sense. Say goodbye to screens and hello to slow time.
Are you with me?