I know my husband and I have gotten too busy when we begin to bicker through text messaging. A few weeks ago, such was the case.
Our morning began with a small request made lovingly.
“When you dress A, please remember to put the barrette in her hair.”
I may live in the genteel South, but my daughter’s barrettes serve more than an ornamental purpose: they hold back her untamed mane. If I don’t have the time for a real conversation with my husband, then scheduling a haircut is a luxury out of reach.
With a rushed family goodbye, I departed for my 8 a.m. class. And just before my second class began, I heard the vibration. In addition to the barrette, I had also asked my husband to snap a picture of the kids at preschool drop-off. Nothing brings sadness quite like missing Pajama Day. But, alas, a picture!
Only my screen seemed to validate distrust and incite a surprising anger.
Two kids. Two smiles. And no barrette.
Truthfully, my frustration began long before my daughter’s hair became inconvenient. It originates from a part of me I try to keep hidden.
I want to be Super Mom.
But mornings when I teach are a painful reminder that I can’t orchestrate everything. I don’t get to dress the kids. I don’t know my daughter’s preschool friends. And I have to trust my husband to make every preparation without me.
Thus, the stage was already set for inevitable conflict.
“Cuties!” I replied to my husband.
Kindness, Lauren, kindness.
“Did A’s barrette even make it to the car?”
I could detail what came next, but, if you’re married, you get it. Words were exchanged. Feelings were hurt. And I was reminded that text messaging isn’t the solution to over-busy lives or marriage.
Later that day, after the dust had finally settled, I looked back on the image my husband sent before digital World War III.
Somehow – in the midst of a chaotic morning – my husband had perfectly captured a fleeting brother-sister moment.
Captain America even put his arm around Little Sis.
Life with children only grows more full, and marriage is teaching me to let go – to release the cape and embrace what I can’t control.
Because in those moments when I don’t have to be super, my son picks me a weed from the yard, a dandelion flower. Or my daughter eats all of her lunch. Or my husband, exactly two weeks later, remembers the barrette without any reminder.
And, at the end of the day, this mom just may have saved her marriage.