Two weeks into kindergarten, I made my daughter get her first tardy. We woke up on time, we got dressed on time, we got into the car on time. And then I realized there was no gas in the tank. In order to make the trek to school, we would need to fill’er up. I went to the gas station, filled exactly three gallons, and hopped back in the car, racing to get a spot on the highway. It took three minutes to fill gas total.
Those three minutes put us in a dismal spot on the highway. I could already tell the final outcome would depend on one pesky traffic light a block away from school. As we drove, my daughter and I talked about how important it is to be on time and what the consequences of getting a tardy might mean. During the course of the conversation, I heard myself say, “Getting a tardy doesn’t mean you’re a terrible student… or a terrible mom.”
Suddenly, I realized that internally I was making this tardy out to be yet another sign that I am a terrible mom, an official time-stamped slip. But no, getting this tardy meant nothing more than that the car needed gas. In the broader icon of my life (and hers) this tardy wouldn’t even figure.
It ended up taking 12 more minutes than usual to get to school, making us late for drop off by one minute. We could literally see the last few people filter into the building as we raced across the parking lot. But as I stood in the office to sign her in, I was at peace.
This morning, we woke up with less than ten minutes left to get ready for school. “We will NOT get a tardy!” we proclaimed. We bolted all four out of our beds. She was dressed, laces tied, in four minutes, while lunch was packed. Hair done in two. Out the door. Recycling by the curb.That’s called teamwork, dedication. That’s called God’s mercy, an angel nudging us awake with exactly the minimum amount of time left to get this here morning started.
Getting that tardy had an unforeseen consequence. It galvanized us into a well-oiled morning machine! United for a common cause, we’re unstoppable!
Ok, crawling back in bed now… I had a rough weekend. The Lord knows, I need some sleep.
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