Diaper bag restocked? Yes.
Snacks packed? Yes.
Entertainment bag ready to go? Yes.
Everybody pottied or in a fresh dipe? Yes.
Rain boots on, everyone? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
"Logan, did you brush your teeth?"
Guilty shoulder shrug, slight grimace.
And I lost it. The stress, the rush, the late night licking envelopes to send support packets to churches--it all hit me in one, sick rush.
I lost it.
I sucked breath through my teeth, rolled my eyes, threw my hand on my hip, looked at the ceiling. Then I got that lanky, oversized boy square in my sights and let him have it.
"LO-gan! This is. not. o.k. Son! YOU HAVE GOT TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH! You are nine years old! Nine! Do I really have to remind you to brush your teeth every morning? Ser.i.ous.ly?"
His lower lip trembled. His big, beautiful blue eyes shifted shamefully to the floor, where he couldn't see his whole line of siblings staring at him in his moment of disgrace. His cheeks flushed white, then pink, then red.
And his shoulders? Those proud, tall shoulders of that burgeoning man-boy that spread so elegantly, reminding me daily of the handsome guy he's becoming? They were hunched. Cowed into submission by the angry words I was spitting in his face.
Just then, the face that I saw before me wasn't Logan at all. It was the image of a friend who has a nine year-old little man of her own. A boy who, sadly, will take a bride long after his Momma is gone and unable to help him pin the corsage to his tux. A boy who will not likely hand his firstborn into his own Momma's waiting arms one day and whisper, "Here you go, Gramma." A boy who will brush his teeth without his Momma's nagging for many, many years before he is grown.
The tears came before I knew what was happening. I grabbed my boy by his bent shoulders, hugged him close and begged his forgiveness. Pressed my lips to his forehead while it is still low enough for me to reach, wrapped my arms around him while he is still small enough to fit snugly inside my hugs. Loved on him. Felt him slowly, gingerly, uncoil and accept the kisses I couldn't stop myself from lavishing on him.
Because really, I don't give a whip about whether or not he brushes his teeth. Not in the big picture. What I care about is that I have this boy--this young man-- to love and cherish. I have Logan here, now.
Those are the big things. The Do Not Forget Things.
The teeth? Well, they matter. But not more than my son. Not more than his heart, his pride, his sense of what it is to be loved and accepted. I'm just grateful that God, in His infinite love for both Logan and me, pulled me back just far enough to remind me of how blessed I am. Sure, I've got a boy whose idea of oral hygiene is, shall we say, lacking. But I've got a boy. I am blessed to be his mother. God willing, I will watch him lose every single baby tooth in his head and even be the one to hold his hand at the oral surgeon's office as they wrest the wisdom teeth from his jaw. I will most likely cry when he shows me the ring he's selected for his intended. I'll walk over the threshold of his first home and watch him crackle with excitement as he tells me about their plans for the place. I'll have lunch with him some day when I'm 70 and he's 43, and I'll tell him that he's too young to be worried about this or that. I will be a part of his life, and he mine.
That, well ... that's a Do Not Forget Thing. That's the stuff that matters.