It was a bad morning.
The Little Professor couldn't find any clothes. The Long-Suffering Husband had hidden them by hanging them up in the closet. The Sassy Saint was moving at her usual pace, somewhere between stop and crawl.
The LSH had taken Stumpy the Hell Puppy for a walk, and I was trying to make myself presentable. That means a lot of coffee and a lot of shouting. I've found it helpful to count down - "30 minutes!" - because it kicks Sass all the way from stop to slow.
The coffee wasn't happening. I usually whip up a super-sized latte with the espresso machine the kids gave me at Christmas because they love for me to use it.
"Do you love your espresso machine, Momma?" the Professor (whose idea it was) always asks.
"Yes, I love it almost as much as I love you."
But I had to make lunches, because the Professor and Sass were going on a field trip. It was coffee or lunches. It was a pity, too, because the Professor and I made banana bread the day before, and a slice with my morning coffee would be perfect. Instead, I threw it in their lunches.
As they tumbled out of the car to board the bus, I reminded them to grab their lunches - the number of times they've forgotten them has gone beyond memory - and Sass realized she'd left hers at home.
"Get on the bus," I snapped. "I'll bring it to the school."
So, no coffee, running late to work on my busiest day of the week and I had to drop her lunch off or she'd have nothing to eat.
I sped to the school with Sass' lunch, ringing her cell phone to remind her to pick it up at the office. She didn't answer, and with every missed call, I become more snarly and growly.
Flipping through the radio channels, I found the news. The Oklahoma tornado - and the two schools it tore through - was being discussed. As I write this, at least 20 children are dead, and many others are missing.
My anger bled away as I thought about those babies and their parents, who sent their children to school without knowing it would be the last time they saw them. I thought about the parents who didn't know where their children were, the agony of not knowing if their children were trapped, hurt or dead.
Did those parents have angry words for their children as I did my Sass? Or had they sent them to school with a hug and a kind word? Did they regret the last thing they'd said to their children, not knowing it was the last thing? Or were they grateful their children had known they were loved?
The phone rang, and, this time, she picked up.
"Hey, I'm leaving your lunch at the office. Be sure you pick it up."
"I'll get it."
"I love you."
" ... OK, I love you, too."
She didn't understand it, but I finally did and was ashamed.
My morning was nowhere near as bad as I had thought.
(Wallace-Minger, a Weirton resident, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)