It was one of those mornings. Making school lunches, signing permission slips, trying to figure out the after school agenda, calculating rides home, trying to arrange doctors appointments. There was a middle school gathering/Halloween party/dance-ish event that my kid needed money for, and I got called in to substitute teach so I labored over that decision because I already had a commitment.
The commitment I had was to be at a social media conference, which was starting at 9 am, and I was nowhere close to leaving. My middle schooler was was running late getting to school because of said middle school gathering, so I told him that I would just drive him to school that day. We were getting on the website, trying to figure out the cost and the permission forms needed and all the details.
I was mad at myself for being late to everything that day. I should have had my kids’ permission slips ready and I should have gotten up earlier to get myself ready for my conference and I should have had the after school events taken care of before the day of the event and I should not have been late to my conference.
But, I had to get these things taken care of for my kid. I made him breakfast and lunch and we talked about the dance and what he was going to dress up as.
“I’m not dressing up for the event, “he informed me.
“Well, they do not let you wear a mask and mine has a mask,” he said.
I added that he could still wear the rest of the costume but he didn’t want to. So we talked about that. And because he was running late, I had to drive him to school. The morning just got away from us all.
So while driving my kid to school that morning I said in the car, more to myself that to him, but nonetheless, audibly, I said:
“Man, it’s already 9:30 and I’ve gotten nothing done today.”
Then, my sixth grader says to me something so profound, so true, so beautiful, so real, and so full of what really matters.
Wow, oh wow. This kid of mine is surprising me over and over again with his insights.
I felt so terrible, so low, so raw. This kid of mine, my sixth grade son, had the right values. That people matter, that time with people matters, that time with my kids matters.
We are so busy sometimes that we miss the very ministry of the moment. Why do value certain activities over others? What do we consider “getting something done.” What activity counts for that? Is it something that brings in money? Is it a perfect house or a perfect yard or a perfect kid or a perfect schedule with no interruptions?
Our lives are so full of so much to do. As a mom, I work at least five jobs right now: substitute teacher, freelance editor, freelance writer, conference director, and photographer. Then, top that off with managing the schedules of three kids at home, managing my household, being there for my two married kids, being emotionally there for my three kids at home, being a wife, etc. etc. Oh, there’s also exercising and cooking and cleaning and laundry, which some of that can be part of other categories. Add to that would be spending time with my wonderful friends and extended family, etc.
There is just so much to do. What it the most important thing?
We just cannot do it all. And it’s okay if we don’t.
I think of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible, in Luke Chapter 10, where Martha was so busy running around doing all these things on her to-do list, while Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. When Martha complains to Jesus about Mary doing nothing, Jesus says:
Hand it to Jesus to not allow for comparisons. He sets the record straight on what is important. This story humbles me. It reminds me to make others most important, to make God most important, to make reading and praying most important. To remember what really matters.
And, it’s not always my to-do list.
Ask our kids.