Over the course of the past two weeks I’ve missed two events at my children’s school that I wanted to attend.
Unfortunately, as much as I admire the children’s school for so many reasons, one of its weaknesses has been the communication with parents and what’s happening around the school. Having said this, they have made vast improvements in the few years our kids have been attending.
The recent athletics carnival was one such event. For the last 3 years the 100m sprints were scheduled after lunch, just prior to the 100m relay and the tug of war. The 100m sprint is an event the kids love, have often grabbed a ribbon in and I enjoy watching (because it just so happened to be my pet event when I was at school).
This year, I allowed Master 1 to have his morning sleep and then we headed to the athletics carnival, timing our arrival for lunch and the 100m sprint, and I’d encouraged hubby to come along in his lunch break.
A friend met me on arrival and said: “Emily, your kids ran so well this morning and they all got ribbons.”
I’d missed it. My three children had each come third in their respective races and I’d missed the lot.
The timetable had been changed, which of course they have every right to do, but the parents were in the dark.
As I type this up this morning, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. I had planned, and still plan, to attend Mass at 12noon at the school. My children had particularly expressed their desire for me to come and then stay afterwards to watch the Irish dancing display.
12noon is not a fabulous time for the other two children at home but they will enjoy the fun after Mass, even if Mass itself is another kettle of fish altogether.
After the school run this morning I came home and put Master 1 to bed. Ten minutes later a friend calls to ask if I’m at home.
It turns out the Irish Dancing was on this morning, and she was calling to see why I wasn’t there, because she knew I’d want to be. Unfortunately, we live too far away from the school to simply duck back in and I have missed it.
Of course, I’ve been berating myself since the phone call. How did I miss that? And the kids too?
It turns out, there were two notes sent home regarding Saint Patrick’s Day which look identical, and yet the second one had a small alteration with the times for the Irish Dancing.
The graphic designer, ex magazine editor, in me is revolting; you can’t send out two almost identical documents and expect your audience to read through both and find the crucial information. It’s a recipe for disaster.
But is my anger and disappointment misplaced?
Yes, the school’s communication often causes me stress but considering that I am an overly organised, control freak, this is hardly surprising.
Is my anger and disappointment because I feel as though I have let my children down?
Am I still hurt?
But can I see that this is an opportunity for God to show me, once again, that I can’t ever hope to be a perfect mum? That even my best efforts will sometimes fall short; that sometimes I will not be able to attend everything that the children are involved in or be there for them physically every second of the day.
Do I like it?
Of course not! But that’s the sinner in me. I want to be pruned, to be sanctified but I don’t actually want to suffer…
And these activities haven’t been a total loss.
No, I didn’t watch the 100m sprint but I did get to watch the kids compete in other events, share a picnic lunch and be there when Miss 7 received third place in her Age Championship. And later when Master 8 was awarded a medal for Outstanding Sportsmanship.
And yes, I’ve missed the Irish Dancing with the kids this morning, but we did spend the last week dressing up teddy bears for a Saint Patrick’s Day competition at school (and we scored a second place in that competition!), and I’ll be off to Mass there soon which in itself if full of spiritual graces.
No, life is not perfect, but even when things don’t go our way there is a purpose, a reason. And if we’re willing to accept that we’re not perfect, nor the people around us, it’s easier to accept and celebrate life when things do go well.
And to recognise and resign our will to God’s when things don’t quite turn out the way we planned.
About the Author: I am a reformed perfectionist who is now a stay at home mum with five children under nine years of age. I am a qualified journalist and graphic designer with a decided creative streak, and run a hobby business called Emily Shaw Design + Write. I will attempt most craft activities and love to write about topical - and especially controversial - issues.