why I'll keep my kids

Today was a horrible day.

It started to all go awry this morning at my long-overdue haircut. I have yet to find a hair cutting person here that I like, and was giving someone new a try. She was okay, but VERY CHATTY. She kept putting down the scissors to talk, and inside I'm freaking out, thinking of that preschooler of mine that announces ever-so-loudly (in her most disapproving tone) when I am late. And to complicate the preschool pick-up today, we had a playdate at the park with some new friends immediately following preschool (which I would have gotten out of had I known the Mom's cell phone number).

So it's five minutes before I needed to be picking Hannah up, and I'm still sitting in the salon chair. I told the hairdresser that I really needed to leave. That prompted her to PUT DOWN HER SCISSORS YET AGAIN to tell me some story about a customer who...BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. I tuned out and kept my panicked eye on the clock. She FINALLY finished about five minutes after I was supposed to pick up Hannah, which had me running out the door and wildly throwing money at the receptionist for my (not-so-great) sixty dollar haircut, but having no time with which to fix or deal with it.

So I fly over to preschool, grab Hannah, and head to the playdate. Remembering at that moment, of course, that it was a lunch playdate. And I had no lunch. So McDonald's drive-thru for Hannah it was.

Spent the next two hours chatting with the mother of Hannah's little friend who was very nice, but found myself floating away mentally to my to-do list that was at least a mile long.

Raced home to shove some lunch down my own throat before heading out to pick up the boys from school.

Then it was homework. And in between juggling homework, mail, and the phone calls that for some reason always come at homework time, I attempted to piece some dinner together.

Then we were off to Chase's baseball game. In the rain. Which makes me ever so cranky (and does nothing for the judgement of my new haircut which I possibly hate or love, but have no time to tell).

During the baseball game, I got assigned the task of keeping an eye on the boys in the dugout. We've had some boys messing around, and by virtue of the fact that I seem to attend every game (how the other parents get out of it is beyond me), they nominated me as Dugout Mom.

And on my first watch, someone got whacked in the face with a metal bat. (Aren't you just begging for me to tend your kids right about now?)

So we finish the game somewhat intact, pile in the car, and rush to sit in traffic for 30 minutes on our way home. We arrive home, hurriedly eat some of the less-than-tasty dinner I had thrown together earlier. Next came baths, the finishing of homework, and priming of the pinewood derby car.

I was frazzled. I was done. I needed these children in bed so I could sit down and find any sense of sanity left floating around my head (until, of course, I realize that there are 400 loads of laundry waiting to be folded and put away). I haul up three baskets full of clothes, grumbling, and find my sweet boy, McKay, sitting on Hannah's bed - reading to her. He'd tucked her in, picked out her favorite book, and began to read to her. Nobody asked him. Nobody even mentioned that he ought to do that. He saw I was about at the breaking point, and stepped up to the plate. It brought sharp tears to my eyes to see this thoughtful boy taking some time for his little sister, and having the wisdom beyond his years to know that I needed help.

Brought the day in perspective, too. Because at the end of the day, what really matters most anyway? The laundry I didn't get to? The emails waiting to be answered? The phone calls not returned? The dinner not made well? No, what matters is that these little people know that they're loved.

And boy, are they ever.