I stand in the sun outside the car. I check my phone, and sure enough: the minutes until church starts are dwindling to nothing. The heat bounces off the parking lot and reflects off the car until my face is damp with sweat.
“Come ON, sweetheart. We have to GO.”
She barely acknowledges that I am there, much less that I am speaking to her, and shows even less concern over the passage of time. She is doodling something on her notepad, and I cannot imagine what in the world is more important than getting her to her class and me to my seat in the front row where I can sit and breathe and worship with all of the other adults who are making their way inside even as I still stand in the parking lot.
“Whatever that is you’re working on, it can wait. We need to go. Get out of your seat and COME ON.”
I am thankful that no one is left around to hear my impatience and witness the imperfect picture that is our morning. I am not feeling picture perfect, though. I am feeling stressed and irritated and late.
Oh, we’re so late….
“I made this for you, Mama. Do you like it?”
My heart simultaneously soars and sinks. The guilt over my horrible attitude outweighs my joy, even, as I look at her simple love note. She was more concerned with writing that than getting to church on time. I, on the other hand, sacrifice kindness in favor of achieving an on-time, picture perfect arrival.
I hug her….thank her…..accept the drawing from her with tears in my eyes and a stabbing lump in my throat.
“I’m sorry I rushed you, sweetie. Mommy was wrong to act that way.”
And she smiles.
Mornings like this…..well, they’ll pass. All too soon she may not even want to ride with me to church, wanting instead to drive herself. All too soon, little notes like this one will be all that is left of this dark-eyed preschooler.
“Thank you for making this for me, honey. Do you want to make one for Daddy?”
She nods, and I sit in the back seat next to her. Sweat runs down my back, the parking lot clears as everyone else goes inside, and I watch as she writes the world’s most simple love note to her daddy.