Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Herding Cats

I wrote this on Facebook this morning: Sheesh. During a crew change day at work, we're at the flight line at 5 AM, and we have a lot of tasks to knock off within an hour before a flight. Why then does it seem ten times more stressful just to get my wife and son out the door on a school day? I love those two people more than life itself, but I have an idea for a new TV reality show: "Extreme Home Cat Herding."

I was pretty aggravated this morning by the time my bride and our son drove away. It was partly just me, since I'm fighting a sinus infection, and not feeling my best, and give me enough time and I'll come up with other excuses.

Part of it comes from Rhonda. Although she's one of the very kindest and loving people I've ever known, she is NOT at her best in the morning. She and Dylan seldom follow a straight-line course to anything, and if I rousted them an hour earlier every morning, they would still get out the door with about two minutes to spare.

My goodbyes were kind of curt as they got into the car. But as I stood outside, and listened to the car drive down the driveway and up the hill, I found myself wishing for a do-over.

I walked into the house and slumped into a chair, and the thought crossed my mind: "What if that goodbye was the last I ever got to say to them?" A golf ball appeared in my throat.

I thought about lesser losses, too.

One day, Dylan will be on his own. The mornings of cooking breakfast, packing a lunch, and fretting over him getting to school on time will be over.

I thought about how aggravated I was this morning.

I thought about how the day will come when I have my first cup of coffee in the morning, remembering the mornings of trying to get my wife and son out the door on time. I think about how I'll chuckle, and maybe, get a tear on my eye.

Something dawned on me anew: The cat-herding ordeals will end. Too soon.


Kelly said...

Funny how often we look back with longing at events which frustrated us at the time.

Good post, Hal. Enjoy the cat-herding while you have it!

Uncle E said...

I actually changed every clock in the house to exactly 45 minutes earlier and it worked for about 2 days. Then my youngest, Amanda, said, "hey Mom, which is right: the computer clock or our clocks?!?"
But you are absolutely right. My time away from my kids commuting for those 11 months made me realize what I was missing, what I would miss. But don't beat yourself up too much. You're only human, after all.

Annie said...

Thanks. I needed that.

Debby said...

Er. Time management is the slightest of a problem for me, too. Tim actually changed the bathroom clock by five minutes. It works. I don't know why it works but it does. At our house, anyway.

Hal Johnson said...

Debby, I had to chuckle at your comment. Do you think that if it weren't for your stint in the military, Tim would be setting that clock forty-five minutes ahead? When Uncle E/Ian and I became friends, we quickly figured out that our wives were, er, compatible regarding time management.

Mary Paddock said...

Left to my own devices, I am rarely late (am usually early). Left to my devices and combined with the now fairly well-trained teens, we are rarely ever late. I do make sure they wash their clothes the night before, but they manage the rest.

But then there is Gary . . . Bless him . . . I adore him . . . But, Hal, the man will wait until five minutes before it's time to go and announce that he needs to shower (service the vehicle we're driving, make a phone call, etc) which means we are always late when he's included. Changing clocks doesn't work (too many of them around the house to refer to). My solution? To lie about what time we have to be places.

After twenty-plus years, I have learned to laugh bout it and remind myself of how wonderful he is otherwise.

Scotty said...

Me, I'm always at least 20 minutes early - for years I've had this 'thing' where I'd rather be an hour early than a minute late.


Bob said...

Pull up Brad Paisley's song, "Waiting on a Woman." Better yet find the video on youtube and watch it. Enough said.

My last one is a senior in high school. On the days I am home and see him out the door in the mornings, I have a big lump in my throat. He wonders why I hug him so tightly when he's just going to school.

My baby girl was home from college last weekend and on Saturday morning I went into her room, rubbed her back and talked baby talk to her.

You are wise to treasure the moments, my friend.

quid said...

You will laugh and reminisce at these moments when Dylan is "all growed", but that doesn't mean that aggravation of a morning person trapped in a houseful of non-morning people isn't valid. I was one of those. Around year 20, suddenly Frank became a morning person and started getting up two hours before he had to be at work. He'd work out and take a leisurely drive with less traffic. He began to like it. Frustrated, my "morning time alone" having been invaded, I wasn't happy with the change.

Sometimes, we're never happy. One of my two kids is now a morning person. The other one still lives with me.


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