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1. I write first thing in the morning and in the evening, as soon as the kids are asleep. Before I go to bed, I read.
2. Even though my house is usually in a state of what my husband refers to as a Cluster F@&#, I won't hire a housecleaner. I'd have to straighten up ahead of time, and if I do that, I might as well clean the house myself. My house is actually clean, it's the clutter that has accumulated that makes the house look so unkempt. I working on it. Truly.
3. It is chaotic in my household every school day. It doesn't matter whether the girls are up 2 hours or a half hour before school starts. The screaming, the fighting, the showers, the searching for the perfect outfit to wear (even though it was chosen the night before), the whining about the breakfast, the whining after a quick snack and lunch box inspection...it's the same thing. Every, every day. Nothing like entering a Groundhog Day time warp.But no matter what, the last thing my girls and I do before they go off to school, or for that matter anywhere without me, is this: I always give them a hug, kiss, and quick caress of their sweet little faces, wish them a good day and confirm where I am going to meet them at the end of the school day or wherever they are. I drink in the love from their precious eyes and the glow from their amazing faces and make sure they know how much I love them. I've done this ever since my oldest started preschool.
I finally realized this morning that my girls cherish this little routine just as much as I do. After a totally crazy morning, where I was trying to hurry 8 year old along and commenting on her clothes selection -- 8 year old spent forever brushing her hair and changed her clothes 3 times -- she snapped at me in total frustration. "Mom! Leave me alone! You don't understand anything! The clothes you chose for me make me look like a baby! Everyone is going to tease me and ask me why I'm all dressed up! I'm going to wear what I want to wear!" She stomped out of the house without saying goodbye.
I was stunned. Here's 8 year old morphing into a teenager right before my eyes, not needing me at all. And in the background, I hear 6 year old asking why 8 year old left without her kiss. Complete emptiness. I decided to go after 8 year old. Suddenly, the front door bangs and I see 8 year old peek into the kitchen doorway. She had a sheepish grin and walked up to me for her kiss. I savored this incredible moment and hugged her, a tad bit longer than usual. She gave me a happy sigh and we held hands until we reached the door. Complete and whole. This still doesn't change the fact my little girl is growing up. I don't know how much longer my 8 year old will look forward to this little routine, but I know I will cherish each moment she will let me in. Each. Precious. Moment.