Forget about a Facebook highlight reel. You know, how they (whoever “they” might be) say that social media shows the pristine good. Because, who’s going post a picture of a college reject letter rather than the happy photo of your top pic school’s acceptance with the kid’s name on their scoreboard. I mean really. But truth is, I could since we got one yesterday. I also burned a bagel AGAIN(!), in the toaster. That’s easier to share.

But, our house is about as far from highlight reel as you can get. It’s more of a highlight-REAL. Take this morning for example.

I snooze my alarm at least five times. My great intentions of getting up early for a few quiet moments to myself so I can put some finishing an article whose deadline was Friday (operative word “was” – my attempt missed the mark so I’m rewriting a bit) fail. No worries, though. The snooze button and I are close friends. We interact almost every day, multiple times before the sun rises.

I finally get up. Wake up one kid who needs to study for a test and head downstairs. As I reach to light the fire (an absolute must on a chilly morning) I see a roach. For those of you who might not know, the roach creature and I are NOT friends. Hate only touches the surface of my disdain for the little Energizer-Bunnies that never stop even after being whacked a dozen times.

But I put on my brave hat, grabbed a shoe and hit the darn thing. Of course, I missed. It somehow disappeared. And all I could do was hope that it went under the house – or somewhere far, far away.

I moved on.

Studious-kid sleep-stupored his way downstairs and grabbed his books. Then he settled in next to the fire … until something ran behind his back. Screeching, he jumped up and yelled, “A ROACH!!” as it scurried under his binder.

Needless to say, I wasn’t going to let that thing escape another time. So together, studious kid and I teamed up to kill the intruder. He bravely lifted his binder and I smacked the bug with the kid’s shoe. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.

As soon as his sisters came down, he told the tale through which we had survived victorious. Next came finger pointing at who leaves crumbs when eating by the fire – a clear rule-violation. (We have a kitchen-only food rule.) That kept going, as did the victory story, all while I’m trying to cook a breakfast that requires little chewing since two of the kids got their braces tightened yesterday.

For once, I actually remembered the orthodontist appointment and went. No need to mention that I might have gotten the kids out of school the day before, showing up for the appointment a day early when the doctor is at their other office. Yippee – got to go to the ortho twice! My calendar challenges just aren’t getting any better.

The kids grab their scrambled eggs and moan every time something passes their lips. Any eating stops the minute we hear a frantic scream from the living room. Jack, hysterically crying, runs to me for safety after throwing his shoes across the room. Apparently, dead-roach has a sibling who had nestled into Jack’s shoe that had also been by the fireplace overnight.

It was freaky. Seriously, who wouldn’t be unnerved by feeling a roach in your shoe?! We were all a little shaken.

But again, trying to be brave, I went to the couch where Jack had been sitting when he discovered the antennae on his little hand. And there, in fact, was another roach – ON MY COUCH!! And I’m like, “What?! Seriously?! TWO in one day!!” We haven’t seen nary a bug, except for the fake ones that Snopes puts in my path to cause heart stoppage, since we’ve moved a couple years ago.

Again, I take a deep breath and bravely Dudley Do-Right in to save the day by killing the beast. Yeah, I missed again.Not only did I miss, I somehow managed to push the bug into the couch. Where it still is. How will we ever sit on our couch again?! Even right now, I have the cushions off and am watching – hoping that bug comes out. But, if I were the roach, I’d stay amidst the springy, cozy darkness and wait – I’m sure a wayward kid will once again forget the kitchen-only rule and leave a few crumbs in a cushion.

Limping, we survive breakfast and head to the car for school. A dead bird lies just outside the car door. Yes, I will be finding the shovel when I get home to dispose of that lovely item.Then, en route to school, Fury remembers a book he needs, so we circle back and he mad-dashes because minutes matter. It’s a domino affect for us. Five minutes behind schedule can lead to a tardy for the last drop-off.

Jack, still reeling from his roach-shoe experience, angry-slumps in the back seat, grumbling. He has decided that the morning’s trauma absolutely warrants a free day home from school. His mean-mom disagrees.

We drop off one kid and race to the next school.

“You know, you’re not supposed to drink and drive,” Jack growls at me from the back seat.

“What?” I ask.

“Yes. I just watched you drink. And you’re driving.”

“Honey, it’s coffee. They mean a beer or something like that.”

“It doesn’t matter. Since you did that I should get to stay home from school.”

Okee-dokey. At least he’s tenacious – and creative – and attentive to the rules. If only they would follow the food-only-in-the-kitchen-rule.

We get to school. Fury hops out. Jack takes his time. “Jack get out, Honey. We’re holding up the line,” I sing-song encourage. He slow-motions his way out the door, mumbling, “I love you Mom. I hope you have a good day. I won’t.”

And as he gets out, stray pieces of trash fly after him. Now not only have we held up the line by a slow-motion exit, but our trash is flying about. Everyone can see the mess that lives behind our closed car doors. My little rule-follower races after the trash, grabbing it with his back-pack flopping around. He heads back to our car. Opens the door and puts the fast-food wrappers and stray home-work papers back in it.

The carpool monitor smiles at me, as do the others as I drive past after having held up the line while my child was bounding after flying trash.

A good start to a regular day. Regular, scary, hilarious, embarrassing – still peppered with “I love you Mom” in the midst. Here’s hoping that I always see the love in the midst (… and that I find the couch-roach. Seriously, how we will ever sit there again without wondering when it will reappear!)

Thanks for walking the road to me.


More from our Highlight-Real


The burrito bowl given to me by the VERY nice Chipotle guy while I stood, holding up another line, looking in an empty wallet – cleaned out by my kids. “You come here all the time,” he said. “This one’s on me.” LOVE THAT!! … Still, I had a little chat with the kids about putting the credit card back where it belongs.


One of my prouder moments – again at a restaurant. We do eat at home. And avoid potty-talk. Right? (Sorry, Mom :)


I’ve got my eye on you Couch. The kids suggesting putting a Honey-Nut Cheerio on the seat, “Roaches like those.”

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