"MOM! MOM! Where are you?"
Calling from the entryway, I started directing them through our after school routine. But I stopped short. Something was different today. Something was wrong--my Spidey/Mommy senses were on alert, and I proceeded with caution.
"Hey guys! How was your day? Get your lunchboxes washed out and find your homework. We have a busy afternoon today."
All three of them blinked up at me from the couch, and not one of them moved.
Micah went first. "Lunch recess today was the worst. I was playing capture the flag, and when I dove to get a flag, I must have stepped on someone's hand and they launched me into the air. My whole weight landed on my leg, and I spent an hour in the nurse's office with ice on my ankle."
Then Hyrum. "Look at my hand." He showed me a raw scrape and the beginning of a small bruise in the webbed area between his thumb and forefinger. "I slipped at the sink and dropped something on my hand. It really hurts."
When I turned to Eve, her big eyes welled with tears. "Mommy, at PE today, right before we came home for the day, I got hurt. I was reaching for a beanbag when Riley's knee came up and hit me on the cheek." The tears escaped her eyes and rolled down one bruised cheek. "Mr. J told me to shake the parachute instead of chase beanbags, but that was all he did."
School beat them up that day. What should I do? I knew all we had to do that afternoon--two piano lessons, one voice lesson, one football practice, on top of homework and nightly chores. That's what I should do, right? Quickly comfort them and bustle them off to their responsibilities.
That's not what I did.
"Guys, I think there's only one thing I can do to fix a twisted leg, a bloody hand, and a bruised cheek. Should we hurry and get ice cream before I take Micah to piano?"
Tears stopped and we scurried to the Suburban, with backpacks, lunch boxes, homework folders, and a big, black cello haphazardly strewn across the family room.
Ten minutes was all it took. Ten minutes away from our normal routine. What did it cost me? It cost more time after dinner to finish homework. It cost me time this morning washing out lunch boxes. It cost me $8.35 for two single scoop ice cream cones and one double scoop waffle cone. And in return, I received three smiling faces that quickly forgot a rough school day. Three kids who changed their attitudes. And one mom who saw the value in adjusting routine, just this one time.
Can you see the bruise on Eve's left cheek? That must have been some collision.