“You can make your kid a special shirt to wear over their uniform!” the teachers invited.
“We’d love a few more classroom volunteers,” the room mom shared.
“Can you come to lunch today?” my little girl cooed with a soft smile and hope in her eyes.
“No,” “no,” and “no” was my refrain.
Sure, it was, “Oh man! Today’s the day. Is there anything I can throw together this morning between packing lunches, changing diapers, and brushing teeth?”
“Well, I could come, but I’ll have to bring the baby, and I’m not sure how much of a help that’d be.”
And, “Not today, but maybe later this week?”
As I walked the halls to see other moms happily taking pictures, posting them online, and proudly cheering their little ones through the giant “100” banner into the classroom, familiar pangs of guilt and regret crept up.
I should come back, I thought. Maybe this will be the day she remembers. I can get the groceries later. I can wear the baby. I can get the house picked up if I run fast enough.
And with the baby asleep on my lap — because, of course, he won’t nap anywhere else — I saw the little red circle pop on my screen, a notification of something shared. It was the exact notification I needed in that moment: the shirt doesn’t matter, the extra drive across town can be skipped, the time you do give is time well spent.
“Look at this,” she said, “Couldn’t be cuter than that!”
It was one of those moms who got it all done. She made the shirt, took the photos, and, I’m sure, will be there today to volunteer. And even with all that, she still took the time to reach out, to notice not just her own cute kid, but the snapshot in time behind him.
There we are. Just a boring blue uniform shirt. A “maybe later” in the air. A big, giant sign celebrating the 100th day of school and a small, quiet sign right in the middle: a sign of love through it all, of effort, 100%.
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