My kids missed the bus for the first time ever.

I’m not sure how it happened.

We were doing fine and had plenty of time, until we didn’t. I blinked, and then it was 8:41 and we were late.

And then my 6-year old couldn’t find her sweater, so I sent her out to the car and by the time I found a different sweater and joined her, I could see the bus drive past our cul-de-sac…and then I had to run back in to get her backpack, which she had left on the shoe bench.

There were tears! (And the kids weren’t happy either.)

I took a deep breath.

You see, growing up, I missed the bus. A LOT. I thought back to 6-year old me and how much responsibility I felt to get myself to school on time. It always felt like a mad dash, and that “go go go” feeling has haunted me since. And truthfully, it has gotten in the way of just being on-time ever since. I am having to learn and model skills that were never modeled for me.

The shame I was feeling wanted me to blame the 6 year old for not having her stuff together; the freneticism of our hurried departure wanted to creep into how we were going to move forward. But that? That just perpetuates the cycle of shame and hurriedness.

As soon as I realized that I had carried that shame forward to this moment, I realized that I could let it go. Little kids can’t be responsible to get themselves to school on time. They need a grown-up. I needed a grown-up back then, and my kids need one now.

Instead, I apologized. 

I didn’t manage our time very well as we were getting close to when we needed to leave. While it is her responsibility to know where her sweater is, my frantic words (“We have to go! We’re late!”) probably didn’t help her find the presence to remember where it was.

So, with the confidence of a pilot flying through rough turbulence, I let them know that we would all go to drop the 2-year old off at preschool and then I would take them to school and they would still be on time. Nothing was broken. Everything was figureoutable. We can do better next time.

It meant that we got to listen to an episode of Circle Round together, and instead of leading with hurriedness, we could talk about what we were looking forward to in our day.

And you know what? That was a much better start to the day than what we had planned, anyway.

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