Mary's last day of school was last Friday, but thanks to a series of commitments and work, today was the first day I didn't have to be both awake and presentable by 6:45. (Don't worry, the kids took care of making sure I was up at an eye-blearing 6:15 or so.) I enjoyed a lazy morning - feeding the kids oatmeal in my scrubby pajamas, leisurely cleaning up the kitchen, and eventually making my way to the shower at 8.
At approximately 8:01 I remembered I had a 9:20 appointment on the other side of the highway, which requires at least 40 minutes of driving for what would normally take 15, and therefore I had 29 minutes to shower, dress, get the kids dressed and brush their hair and teeth and somehow wrangle a snack for them (Dunkin' Donuts to the rescue).
I hopped out of the shower at 8:05, which must be some kind of record now that I'm no longer sporting a haircut that would make K.D. Lang look like the feminine one, pulled together presentable outfits for the kids, made sure everyone was brushed, washed and had gone to the bathroom and somehow got out the door by 8:30. They even had matching socks, which is a real accomplishment around here. (If anyone really likes pairing up socks, I have a laundry basket with your name on it and all the coffee you can hold.)
Somewhere around three minutes into the drive, my pulse returned to a somewhat normal rate, despite Anna and Lily in the backseat gleefully kicking the back of the front seats to make their shoes light up. Mary looked at Lily's "new" shoes, hand me downs from Anna?
"Do Lily's shoes have light ups too?" she squealed as only a five year old girl can.
"Oh," she sighed sweetly. "I love those little shoes." I couldn't help but smile. The rain was letting up, the sun was starting to peek through and here was my oldest, acting like a kid from those chapter books I always hated because the little girls were always so much better behaved than I was.
"Mary, you're a great big sister, you know that?" She beamed at me. "You get so happy for your little sisters, it's so nice!"
"Yeah..." she said reflectively. "But sometimes I get mad at Anna."
"That's okay," I responded, embracing the Teachable Moment. "It's okay to get mad. She gets mad at you, too. And one day, you'll probably get mad at Lily."
"Mommy...I do get mad at Lily. A lot. You know why?"
"Because she's the littlest and so she's the hardest to control!"
At that point I almost lost control of the car and drove off the road. I bit back laughter and tried to keep a neutral face. It almost worked.
"Who told you that, hon?" The cadence of kicking feet continued in the backseat. The line at Dunkin Donuts was too long and I mentally calculated the amount of time it would take to hit the next one.
"Mom-my," she laughed. "No one had to tell me that! I've been working with Lily for a long time now!"
Kick, kick, kick.
The next Dunkin Donuts had a long line but since traffic had been okay, we waited it out and were rewarded with fresh donuts, which in turn rewarded me with a chocolate covered two year old upon pulling into the parking lot.
When we got to the doctor's, my blood pressure was a good 20 points higher than normal.
I have no idea why.