Michele Zipper, T-Kids Coach

Today, I thank my son for teaching me and helping me see clearly through the fog. You taught me a valuable lesson, for which I am so grateful.

Back to school time is a crazy time for most people, getting the kids used to their new schedule, teacher, and friends. For me, I have three kids in three different schools this year, with three different bus times and three different lunch needs. I’ve been amazed at how focused I was on getting through this morning routine smoothly from 6:30am all the way till 8:45am. My favorite part about this routine is that because their bus times are spaced apart, I get to spend at least 20 minutes of special one-on-one time with each child before they head off to school and the next one wakes up. 

However, today my oldest son, who just started middle school, threw me for a loop when he asked if I could drive him because the bus has been late and he’s still adjusting to getting into his seat on time. My heart went out to him, and I agreed to drive him. So lunches were finished quickly, and my middle son came down as I was getting ready to walk out the door. I gave him a choice to come and eat breakfast in the car and drop him off afterward, or he could stay home to relax, and I’ll rush back to take him to the bus. He opted to stay home, and said to me, “I’ll just set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes in case you’re not back so I could jump on my bike and ride to the bus stop.” I loved that idea and was so proud of him for taking the initiative to be independent.

After dropping my oldest off, I rushed home, only to be stopped by a police officer for rolling through a stop sign. He took a long time getting out of the car, and as the minutes went by, the tears started running down my face. All I could think was, “I need to get back to give my son a hug before he goes to school.” By the time he came over, I was a flat out mess.  As my hands completely shook, looking for my license and registration, I cried over and over, “I missed the bus, I missed the bus, I missed the bus.” Upset because I felt I had let my son down and abandoned him. I called my friend to confirm he got on the bus, and she said, “He’s all smiles biking over here, no problem!”

I drove home, only to see my son’s bike and helmet sitting on the side of the road, and once again, the tears came. But instead of sadness, they were tears of independence, of pride, and of joy.

So often, as parents, we want to help them and protect them from making their own mistakes, to make sure their road is smooth in front of them. However, it’s actually the bumps that keep them present and focused on their own paths. When things are too easy and done for them, they don’t have the chance to work out their grit and resilience muscles, and those muscles are needed to grow emotionally stronger. We need to teach our children coping skills, and in the process, teach ourselves.

So thank you, my son. My son grounded in metal, whose challenge and power is sometimes the same. Sometimes you get stuck and insecure in ways because you’re so focused on the details. But today, when you used your power of details, of getting it done, you truly shined, and in turn, helped me grow as a mom. Thank you, my son, I know you had a fantastic day at school, and you can confidently know I will be there at the end of your day with the most loving hug.