I’ve already been up for an hour & a half when I walk into their room & turn the light on. “Boys, it’s time to get up & get dressed.” They both acknowledge me with a, “Good morning, Mommy.”

My hair is still in the towel I wrapped around it after my shower. I’ve woken the boys & given them instructions. I have grand expectations of how well this will go for me. Walking back into my bedroom, I tell M, “Babe, it’s ten after.” He mumbles a thank you & comes into the bathroom to shower after I’ve already started the blow dryer.

Dry hair, brush hair, finish getting dressed. Walk into the boys’ room, fully expecting my four & six year old children to have actually – I don’t know, listened? – for once. They haven’t. Bear is just climbing back into Butter’s bunk [they switched last night, as they sometimes do] after retrieving his beloved Blue Blanket from the floor. Butter is snuggled up in the covers with a book I know he’s probably read seven or eight times. But it’s a book, so he’s reading it.

“Guys, I told you it was time to get up & get dressed. Butter, you’re going to miss the bus now because you still need to eat breakfast.”

“I don’t want to miss the bus!”

“Well you should have gotten dressed when I came in here.”

“Fine. I’m not going to school then. I want Pop!”

I turn on my heel & walk back into our bedroom. I tell M, “You deal with the insolent six year old today. I just. Can’t.”

M, God love him, understands. He had sole possession of the insolent six year old last night.

Lunch has not been made. Heck, the lunchbox hasn’t even been cleaned out from yesterday. There are dishes all over the kitchen from dinner last night. Eventually, I pose a question to M. “Would you leave your commercial kitchen like this?” He apologizes. I appreciate his apology, but this morning, I think I might appreciate more if it actually rinsed the dishes instead of just stacking them in the sink. Again, he understands.

And then, on the drive to work, with Bear telling me the story of the baby who knocked down the tower of blocks he built last night while Butter did karate, I realize something.

I expect things of them. I expect the boys to obey me. I expect M to realize I want him to know how I want things. I expect them to  do these things without me telling them & that is most certainly not fair to them. I expect things to be done without having done them myself.

I examine myself. I leave dishes unrinsed. I’ve crawled back into bed with a book rather than face the day. I’ve been the person whose block tower was knocked down. I’ve been the person who’s knocked someone else’s tower down.

Gentle. Grace. Understanding. These are all words that strike me as I’m reflecting.

I need to be these things.

For them.

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