Starting the day with “Pastries for Parents”

Pastries for Parents.

It’s such a lovely idea. You’ll take your child to school a half-hour early and sit in the cafeteria and talk about school and life and meet their friends and other parents.

That’s the dream.

The reality?

Everyone has to wake up early, which naturally sets the whole day up for success.

They’re even crankier when they realize that the morning will be rushed because you have to go to some “pastries” thing. You keep hearing people say, “What’s a pastry?” and “Ugh, I don’t even like those things” and “Why can’t we just have extra time at home?”

You ignore the groans (and don’t point out that this will be the first full day of school in a week) and hurry everyone out the door and drive to school and park, but you park “So far away! Why can’t you park closer?”

Then you stand in line for 10 minutes in the cold to get in. And everyone else seems to be happy and smiling and friendly. Why is everyone else thrilled to be there when you practically had to offer bribes to get children out the door?

When you get to the food table, you see that of course your children are right. They don’t like anything there because it’s all baked goods, and they don’t really like baked goods except the occasional chocolate chip bagel or chocolate-covered chocolate donut, neither one of which is an option because they’re both such obscure choices.

So your boys spend 45 minutes flipping water bottles on the table and kicking each other and not making conversation with the lovely kind people around them who are clearly morning people who enjoy pastries.

And you start to realize you are watching the clock with your fourth grader.

Then it’s over. Your boys grab their backpacks and trumpet and start running off to class.

But then your second grader stops. He runs back and throws his arms around you and gives you a kiss.

“Bye, Mom,” he says. And he’s gone. You’re surprised and touched and all warm and fuzzy inside.

And, as you’re walking to the car, you think, “Pastries for Parents. What a sweet way to start the day.”

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.