Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The First Test

The forgotten trumpet. 

It’s January 3rd, and I was already given an opportunity to put my only New Year’s Resolution into effect. As is typical, this morning my son was late getting out the door, with my husband waiting for him in the driveway, car running. My son always announces that he’s “ready” for school, even though he’s sitting at the table, barefoot, sporting bed head, with cereal milk dripping from his mouth as he says it. The time between the words, “I’m ready,” to his butt actually hitting the passenger seat is about 10 minutes. At least. Such is the life of pre-teens.

About 20 minutes after he left, the phone rang. I was elbow deep in my daughter's french braid so I let the machine get it. I heard:

“Mom. It’s me. Can you bring my trumpet to school? I need it. Thanks.” Click.

I finished my daughter’s hair and assessed the situation. I was dressed and ready, but my four year old was on the couch in her pj’s, and another daughter who needed to get to the bus stop in 15 minutes, and it was colder than a witch’s….well, it was just really, really, cold outside. We’ll leave it at that.

I flew through the house, grabbing his trumpet from his room, his music folder strewn about his floor, trying to unhook my parka from the closet, mentally checked the fact that I had 15 minutes to get there, drop it off, and return home or either my middle daughter was going to miss the bus, or my four year old would be home alone, and it was getting hard to breathe, and I realized…

Hey. I have choices here. Am I making this decision On Purpose?

No. I wasn’t. I was trying to be a good mom. You know, that good mom who brings the trumpet to school when her pre-teen son should have been getting his things together but was instead watching cartoons on TV at 6:30 a.m. I was doing what I’ve been trained and conditioned to do, which is rescue people/children from situations they get themselves into, and while certain circumstances do call for a mom to bring things to school (medication or a project that won’t fit into a bus seat) this was not one of those times. So I shelved the instinct to be good, and settled for what I do best, and that is mediocre. I was selfish and chose sanity over saving my son's arse. Sealing my decision with a grain of reality, I also rationalized that band was only the first period of the day. Chances were good that even if I got the damned trumpet to school, the class would soon be ending and he wouldn’t be able to play it anyway.

So I made a different decision. I hung my coat back inside the closet, grabbed a new cup of coffee, and had a very pleasant, non-stressful morning. Making that decision On Purpose was so liberating! I made another decision On Purpose and moved my son’s trumpet and music folder to the front door where he would see it when he left for school the next day. You’re welcome son.

The best part about my decision? When my son came home he asked me, “So, did you get my message this morning?”

“Yep,” I replied.

“You just didn’t feel like bringing it?” he asked.

“Nope. I didn’t have time. Did you get in trouble?” I asked, silently hoping for some logical consequences here.

“No. I just changed the subject and my teacher didn’t say anything else about it.”

Well, no consequences, but overall the experience was win-win. My son didn’t get into trouble (this time) and I had a fabulous, productive, stress-free morning.

On Purpose. 


Marian said...

So proud of you! I am thinking teaching child to be responsible is not mediocre mothering, thats downright darn good parenting there!

Anjuli said...

WOW I love this post!!!!!! I am learning so much from it- and I want to determine to do the same....'on purpose'!!! Good for you!

Rachel said...

Annuli, so far, my days of On Purpose thinking have been really good ones! It's amazing how this type of thinking eliminates a lot of guilt. I hope you have luck with it too, and I'd love to hear about a situation where you thought about something differently and how that went for you!

Rachel said...

Marian, I love the way you think!

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