Mission not Accomplished
I woke up with a long list of errands and rain. I want to string that first sentence into a dreary paragraph of the difficulties of my morning. That would hopefully cause you to sympathize with me and forgive me when I tell you how bad my attitude was. Instead, let me just tell you, my attitude was bad...and my own responsibility.
I really want you to know all about how the rain caused me to have to drive rather than walk my kids to school and how everyone one in drop off line lost their ever lovin' mind. I would make you laugh and knowingly nod along about how nearly all forms of etiquette regarding drop off was being disregarded and that my child began moving at a snail's pace while a line of cars was backing up down the block behind me. I want you to know that, so when I tell you I said the harsh words of, "Get. Out. Of. The. Car." to my little, sending him off into the rain, you would totally get it and even smile.
That's how I wanted this post to go. I wanted to be understood, a little justified, and eventually forgiven for my response to the stress and chaos of the morning. I could totally work this into a funny been there, done that post for parents.
That's not how this post will go. I pulled back into the driveway and all the harshness and irritation I had displayed to my people all morning settled right on me. I was aware of how acutely I missed the target. In truth I didn't even know what the target was. I was aiming at the target of 'getting my kids to school on time.' In that case, I had hit the mark exactly. Nailed it! However, that shouldn't have been the goal.
In my driveway, before I sped off to all my other errands dragging two littles along for the ride, I realized my target was all wrong. Loving well the people around me, that's the mission. That's the aim. When the emphasis is on the task, you can check off that box and loose. I am so grateful for that moment of clarity. Here is how it should go:
The mission is to love my people well, the challenge is to get them to school on time.
I normally live like:
The mission is to get to the school on time, the challenge is to do it lovingly.
The mission is to love well, the challenge is to make returns at 3 stores in the rain.
The mission is to make all necessary returns, the challenge is to do it lovingly.
See in both cases, I can still complete my mission even if I fail at the challenge. That's why the mission, main overriding goal, has to be the most important. That's not how I normally live. I want to do things lovingly but the things I need to get done usually get done regardless.
I was in tears. Let me tell you. I failed. Thank goodness it was still early in the day when all this popped into my little head. I had a lot of day and challenge left to practice this.
I started looking at my kids as the mission instead of the challenge. When they wouldn't get in their seatbelt in a timely way, "They are the mission," was like a mantra in my head. I set that phrase on repeat when they randomly and awkwardly stripped necessary clothing items off. When they became hungry 15mins earlier than I had planned, they were the mission. When they smilingly stood under the waterfall of a busted rain gutter in order to test the merits of their raincoat, they were the mission. When they were being put to bed but not ready to be alone yet, they were the mission. When they needed correction and I was trying to fix dinner, they were the mission. When their lego creation slipped out of their hands while I was texting someone back, they were the mission.
Does this mean that I have to drop everything right when they feel they need me? Sometimes but No. It does mean when I ask them to wait, I'm not angry or irritated with them for their interruption.
My 'to do' list suddenly became the thing I could loose at and still win.
What's your mission today?- Make sure it's the thing you don't want to loose at.
What's your challenge? -Make sure if you fail here your mission is still accomplished.
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