With A Little Help from My Kids


I woke up at 5:18 this morning and reset my alarm from 5:30 to 6:30. The house was cold and I was nestled beneath blankets and warm and I just couldn't get out of bed, though 6:30 felt only marginally better. The kids couldn't seem to get up either. Usually, they are downstairs by 7:50 but at 8:05, I was still yelling for them to come down. It was one of those mornings.

Somehow, we managed to get ready for school and leave the house on time. We all got settled in the car, Miguel turned on the radio and I put the car in first to pull out and the tires spun on the ice. The car wouldn't move enough to even allow me to rock it back and forth to get traction. Wheels spinning.

I went into the house and got our ice chopper and tried to break the ice around the front tires, cursing winter the entire time. The kids positioned themselves behind the car and we tried again...and again...and again...but the care wouldn't move at all. Zeca pointed to the left tire and said, "It's that one. That's the problem." So, I chopped and chopped and chopped and hoped the tire could get traction on the two inches of asphalt I'd exposed.

I got back in the car and the kids got behind it and we finally got the car out of the icy ruts but it had taken so long that I knew we were going to be a few minutes late for school. I'm learning to let go of things beyond my control and this was one.

I thought back to when the kids were small and wondered what I would have done. I would have tried calling a friend or waited for a neighbor or switched to our other car with the hope it wasn't stuck or I would have taken them back inside until I figured out a plan. Both kids pushing the car out in the winter--another milestone.

These are the things that make me realize how slowly life changes with kids. One day, you are trying to shove tiny thumbs into mittens and the next, they are pushing your car when it's stuck.

I noticed other things this week that caught me by surprise. Someone put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder rather than just setting it on the top of the toilet. Zeca helped me put all the groceries away without being asked. Miguel cleaned his room last night because he had decided it needed to be cleaned. These are small things but they feel like miracles.

Luisa comes home in a couple of hours and there are baskets of laundry to fold and dishes in the sink. I'll get to those. But right this moment, I'm feeling grateful for my kids. The past couple of weeks of solo parenting have been challenging but not in the ways they have been in the past. The challenges have had little to do with the kids and everything to do with the responsibilities of daily life and even in those, I'm starting to realize that I'm really not "solo" anymore.