Ahhh… morning moods. Nothing like a houseful of tween/teens to get your day started with a bang – or drip … depending upon your perspective.

Today started as usual. One of my super productive kids greets me, dressed and ready for school. Up at 6:30 having set his own alarm, made his lunch and laid out his clothes the night before, he’s sitting on the couch when I walk down.

“What time do you get up?” he asked as let Wembley our goggle/drain cover/pen-eating dog outside.

“I like to get up at 5:45, but I must have turned off my alarm this morning,” I reply knowing full well that I would still be asleep if I hadn’t heard Mr. With-It walking downstairs.

As we come back in, he starts making his breakfast and I head upstairs to make sure the others are awake. One gets mad at me because… well, who knows. Another groggily responds to my light shaking with a sweet “Thanks, Mom” then I head to the room of gloom to check on the 15-year-old boy who is happiest on the weekend when he can sleep until noon. This kid has three alarms – yet could sleep through them all. Today, though, he responded and actually arose – to get dressed and downstairs, hopefully in a timely manner. We’ve been late a few mornings, so I’ve brought back my lame threat that the bus is leaving no later than 7:30 … with or without you.

By 7:25 everyone except one has eaten and gotten ready for school. I scream upstairs to the pokey one and inform him that we are leaving in “5 MINUTES!” whether he has eaten or not. At this point, Jack is literally hanging on me, begging me to turn on the television (something we don’t do in the morning), crying, “WHY NOT?!!… You’re so mean!!.. I don’t love you anymore. Just let me watch teee-veee-heee-heee…heee…”

Mr. Pokey lumbers down the stairs and makes some cute joke with Jack as if we have all the time in the world. I can’t decide if I’m mad at him, or if I love him even more for helping me snap Jack’s mood.

Three minutes and counting, Mr. With-It heads for the car, informing everyone within earshot (most of our neighbors) that he’s in the car. The mad dash begins. Grabbing packs here, finishing homework there, every kid but one races to get in the car before it leaves. The not-racing-for-the-door one has now leisurely poured milk onto his cereal and methodically chews each bite (like he ever does that!)

Walking out the door, I inform him, “You know we’re leaving in 1 minute!

He just looks at me. The sister beside me calls it like she sees it, “You know you say that, but you don’t do it.” And she’s right.

Finally we all do get in the car. I dish a typical morning lecture on how it’s rude to make everyone late, that the world doesn’t revolve around any individual, and “blah, blah, blah” – which is what we all probably heard in our mood heavy car.

After dropping the older ones off at their respective schools, I run by home to pick up Jack for his school that starts 30 minutes later than the others. On this beautiful morning, he asks if we can ride the bike to school – which we do. We cruise through the streets on this beautiful morning and make our way to zig-zag though a park next to his school.

About the time we curve around our last sidewalk, the kid reaches from behind, hugs me and leans into me as he offers a heartfelt, “I love you, Mom.” As if on cue a core of bag-pipes begins playing, “God Bless America” from across the park. And we look over to see the Fire Station regaled in flags with people gathered to commemorate the heroes who selflessly sacrificed their lives to save strangers on 9-11, eleven years ago today.

We stopped. We listened. … And I cried.

Who cares about my moody brood? They’re my brood. They’re alive. We live in a country that stands strong – that at the core of its being considers others more worthy than themselves. How else can you describe the out-pouring from every corner of this great nation, not only on that defining day, but every day as we strive to make the world a safe place, especially for the less fortunate.

We live in a country where a Fire Station Chief can quote John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” as he remembers the 411 volunteers who lost their lives as they raced in burning buildings to save strangers.


We live in a country where the Fire Station Chaplain, standing in front of a small gathering with the American flag waving in the wind from its perch between 2 ladder trucks, can say “their sacrifice points us to the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us, Jesus Christ, our Savior.”

At this point, tears are streaming. (I’m a total sap and embarrass my kids often.)

Again, as if on cue, the bagpipes fire up. This time playing “Amazing Grace.”

A little perspective to a mom’s mood-filled morning. Here’s hoping I remember that there’s more to life… that we all remember.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


(9/11 video photos from 9/11: The 25 Most Powerful Photos)

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