Those Beautiful Smiles

I have two children, and some days are a bit tricky… logistically. Today is one of those days.

At 8:50 I headed off to my oldest daughter’s school to find the parking lot completely full of vehicles. It hit me that perhaps on Flag Day I should have gotten there about 15 minutes earlier, but hindsight is 20/20. Instead of complaining, though, I simply parked in a non-spot and hoped no one hit me while driving through the parking lot. Once I got inside and saw the sign that said Morning Program would be in the gym, I finally got why the parking lot was full.

Flag Day is apparently a big deal here. I hadn’t thought about that when Alexa told me she was so excited about being a part of Morning Program on Flag Day. I saw it with my own eyes, though, when I walked through the pouring rain into the gym and saw the hordes of people sitting on the bleachers and in four rows of seats set up for the occasion. Then Alexa came in with her class, waving the tiny American flag, and I was so proud. In her other hand, like the Statue of Liberty, she carried a folder that said “Weather” on it.

From the front of the gym, she craned her neck to see me, and I stood and waved at her. It’s always incredible to see that smile, and to know that it’s for me. But then, after she focused on the program that was just starting, my eyes flicked over to the clock. I didn’t want to check it, but the time was already 9:15 and I had a sinking feeling the size of the program would overwhelm the time I had left to give. I was lucky, though, because at 9:20 Alexa stood up and gave the weather report, and she did a beautiful job of it, too. Then she introduced me to the group, one of my favorite parts of coming to Morning Program.

But then it was 9:30 and I had to go. I caught her attention, pointed at the clock and waved goodbye. Her part of the program was over, and I was lucky to have witnessed it, but as I got up to go and said excuse me on my way out, I encountered some looks of derision from other parents who were staying until the end, which by all accounts was probably not until 10:00. By 10, though, I had somewhere else I had to be because I don’t have one daughter. I have two.

So I dashed through the rain again to my car, which luckily hadn’t been hit, and took off for my youngest daughter’s school 30 minutes in the other direction, hoping I made it there in time for the special Father’s Day pancake breakfast they had arranged. I kept checking the clock on my dashboard, hoping the rain wouldn’t slow me down too much, and as I pulled into her school’s parking lot I saw I had two minutes to spare. I wasn’t late. I had made it to both important events in a very small span of time, and I smiled.

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Then I was in that classroom and before I had even gotten fully inside Madeline spotted me and literally jumped up and down. Her smile stretched from ear to ear. We have the same smile, one of the assistant teachers told me, and I realized that I too was smiling. The kids sang a song to us, an old baseball song that is fitting this time of year, and they led us to their little tables where we had surprises waiting for us. The pancakes arrived, and we dug in. I helped Madeline cut hers up, she said thank you, and I just felt so proud because she felt so proud… of me.

You see, my children are so important to me. I want to be to every single event that is important to them. But I can’t. So when I’m able to do something like I did this morning it feels really good to me, to see both of their smiles. And other people can judge because they don’t know what I know. They don’t understand the glory of those smiles, the both of them, and how blessed I am to have them in my life. So even when some days are tricky, logistically, I’m glad to run like the Energizer bunny from place to place.

So I can see those beautiful smiles.

Sam

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