Friday, April 11, 2014

The Panic Rabbit

As Easter rapidly approaches, my thoughts turn to all things bunny-related (including Cadbury Mini-Eggs). Yet I am faced with yet another creature who keeps hopping into my path. I call him The Panic Rabbit. 

As a working mom, I have days when everything goes very smoothly and according to plan. As a teacher, I have the outline of my day as well as my students' goals and homework in my work planner. Finally, as a compulsive list-maker, I consult my personal journal/notebook several times a day for reminders. I cross things off, and it truly helps in the grand scheme of things. But things ain't always grand. Mornings, for example. This is when The Panic Rabbit arrives. 

Sometimes I wake up with him on my chest, and I barely have enough time to sprint to the shower, where I stand under the spray trying to remember if there's something I'm forgetting or missing. Other days, despite the fact that I lay out my daughter's clothes, lunch, backpack and jacket the night before, the time passes so quickly and I find myself tapping impatiently as I wait for her to finish her breakfast so that both of us can sprint to the car and speed to school. The recent detours en route to my job give me more anxiety than a mouse in a maze, and though I know there are world issues with far more gravity and consequences than my morning routine, the thumping of the Panic Rabbit's giant feet on my chest make me want to grab him by the ears and fling him over my shoulder.

Yesterday, he made a special appearance. I was getting ready for a full day of work, including an administrative observation (which is part of our job, and happens yearly, but is still nerve-wracking), as well as a few meetings. My son, who likes to be as close to me as possible after he wakes up, decided to exercise his new favorite word: duck. He followed me into the bathroom, placed his rubber duck on the edge of the tub, knocked it onto the floor saying "duck - quack quack!" and repeating his motions about a dozen times. The sound of his little voice was as adorable as his happy smile. I leaned into the mirror to finish putting in my contacts and giving myself a final once-over. My cowlick was tamed, my bangs were behaving, my makeup was on, my Spanx were spankin' and I felt pretty great in my Ralph Lauren dress. This is good, I thought. This is going to be a good day. I stepped back from the mirror.

And then I pinched his little finger under my high heel. Cue the Panic Rabbit.

I don't know what felt worse: his squashed digit or my guilt. He cried, of course, which prompted my own tears. Fortunately, he is a resilient little guy, and like the athlete I dream he'll become one day, he literally shook it off. During breakfast, he picked up his sliced strawberries with the same gusto (and dexterity, thank God) as always. But when I went to kiss him goodbye, he looked at me seriously, pushed me away, and said, "No, Mama," and the Rabbit came back.

It's not just the mornings; it's parenthood in general. Whether worrying if my daughter is doing okay as  one of the youngest members of her class or fretting about the health level of her classmates, I find myself in a cycle of worry and relief, questions, concern, and comfort, and the hopeful expectation that the next day will be a better day.

My father once gave me the wise advice that each person gets the same amount of hours in the day; it's what we choose to do with them that counts.  I am going to spend more time trying to quiet my Panic Rabbit. Like his furry counterparts who frolic in the roads, my Panic Rabbit can dart in from nowhere to give me a start. But he'd better keep his distance. I'm dangerous behind the wheel, especially when I'm late for work. Just sayin'.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.