A Norman Rockwell kind of morning

August 26, 2016


The year my son started Kindergarten, I would set the alarm for 5:45am and get completely dressed with full make-up and hair done with big hot rollers. I would dress in the outfit I’d carefully chosen the night before, then wake the precious lamb and prepare whole-wheat, made-from-scratch pancakes, shaped like teddy bears, with a sprinkling of blueberries I had picked myself.  The syrup came from my great uncle’s cane grinding the previous Thanksgiving. My darling’s lunchbox held a dinosaur shaped sandwich, healthy fruit, homemade cookies from the secret family recipe shaped like the space shuttle (I was big on shaped-theme foods), and of course a note telling him how much mama loved him. His school clothes were pressed and his red hair sharply parted and slicked down so he looked like Opie. I would walk him to the door of the classroom, kiss him goodbye, and in the afternoons, he would leap into my arms, so happy to see his mommy.



About that time, I remember talking to some women who had high school children and they mentioned how terrible their mornings were, with no one being able to find anything, the toast being burned and everyone banging on the bathroom door. I was relieved my house ran like a well oiled machine and everyone had their act together for the most perfect of all Norman Rockwell mornings.



Fast forward to third grade. I was able to back the alarm up to around 6:15, because, really now, who likes to shower so early? I’d throw on something cute, but sometimes it was what I’d had on the day before, then do my hair – if you consider a ponytail, “doing” your hair. Lipstick and mascara was all I had time for before we   . . . click HERE to finish the story at al.com


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  1. haha, it’s sort of like the pacifier thing with babies, with the first one you sterilize everything, and with the second one, you drop his paci or bottle on the floor and you wipe in off with your pant leg and hand it back 🙂 I don’t know if the extra sleep would be worth homeschooling, I was always shoving my kids out the door!! I do admire you for doing that Leslie Anne, very impressive-

    1. You are so right! And if the dog sniffs the pacifier . . . hummm. Thanks Jenna. I’ll do just about anything for an extra hour of sleep!

  2. You got it all just about right, except that I rolled out that door with them. Probably the reason I was so unhealthy by retirement. I am not sure God meant for the crazy life we live these days. I wish I could go back and homeschool my youngest. I almost didn’t survive high school with him. Early start with a non morning person was killer!!!

    1. I know you taught school, and I don’t see how moms can teach and then also come home to kids every day. That’s real commitment and dedication!

  3. You do have a way with words and teaching! I recently took a position, home based for work. I still put on make up, I do dress down a bid, (I wear clothes) but, the barefoot commute is wonderful. When is snows or freezes, I keep PJ’s or make it a yoga pants day! What a treat!

  4. I was so jealous of you while reading the first part of this story. Because who doesn’t love Norman Rockwell families? Thank goodness you couldn’t keep it up, I feel a little better now.

    Have to admit though, there’s still something in me that longs for the Norman Rockwell moments, and something that makes me feel inadequate when life just does not live up to that.

    1. Isn’t that the truth? It isn’t the prettiness of the perfect home, but the peace I think we covet.

    1. The busiest time for homeschooling, at least for me, is right now at the beginning of the year. Joseph is old enough now and very self motivated that once we get on schedule, he’ll take off on his own from there. After I get him out of bed, that is.

  5. There was no Norman Rockwell in my house when trying to get everyone ready for school. My hair was braided, waffles were toasted, and off to school they went. I do miss those days…life was so much easier.

    1. I think the secret to a happy life – whether it’s with school children or myself, is laying out my clothes the night before. Our public school students wear uniforms, so that helped in a HUGE way.

  6. Leslie Anne… as always you did a wonderful job shedding the glamor of motherhood and painting it as it really is with your sharp wit. Anyone who has raised children can identify with this one and enjoy a chuckle. Enjoy your weekend.

    1. Thanks so much Katie. You are always so sweet to take the time and read my stories! Happy weekend to you too!

  7. Very funny — and I remember those days! When I moved into my first “suburban” house (with a previous husband and a toddler who now is a middle-aged man living in China), I thought it was going to be just like I had seen on the soaps: endless koffeklatches with my cute new neighbors, and little old me dressed complete with pearls, perfect makeup and coiffure. Ha! Finally one day, one of the other young mothers said, “I don’t know how you stand to stay so dressed up all the time!” I relaxed a bit, but not too much since I do have my standards. As Bette Middler said, “My standards are not very high, but I do have them!” At any rate, it wasn’t long till I was rushing off to a job in the morning myself, having ditched the husband and the burbs, so once again I was dressed up before leaving the house. When my son was about 9th grade, I had my mother and a friend of hers pick him up from school because they were meeting me after work. He announced, “Oh dear, I do hope my mother is wearing her full makeup because we’ll never recognize her otherwise!” They were in hysterics.

    1. That is hilarious! I love the line from Bette! I mean, we have to at least give it a little effort or else, we’re one step away from being featured on a people of wal-mart site.

  8. Hahaha! I just had this conversation with my daughter-in-law. She was talking about the conundrum of wanting to go to the gym while the boys were in half-day pre-school but not wanting to show up for school drop-off unshowered, in gym clothes. She’s young. She’ll figure it out. 😉

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