This morning, my three school-age kids were standing at the bus stop a few minutes early, breakfast consumed, faces washed, book bags packed, school supplies labeled, Goldfish crackers bagged and ready to go. The dog was walked, the coffee brewed, the baby freshly diapered.
Granted my five-year-old son wanted to look nice so he went into his sister's room and put some gel in his hair. Unfortunately it was hand sanitizer and not styling gel. But now he won't have any germs on his head.
All this accomplished by 7:30 A.M. by me, a fairly type-B personality. I was admittedly still in flannel pajama pants and a sweatshirt. The moms who shower, dress, fix their hair, apply makeup, catch the commuter train, and are answering e-mails and reading the Wall Street Journal by the same hour have my respect and awe.
But whether dressed for success or in pajamas, moms seem to get done what needs to be done. It makes me wonder what would have happened down south if a bunch of moms had been in charge of the relief efforts.
Over the past week, my friends and I have watched the images coming out of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi and read the coverage of events as people suffered in the aftermath of Katrina.
Our first response was, "How are the moms feeding their babies?"
For any parent, the concept of fleeing a disaster without bottles prepared, dry diapers, wipes, and soothing ointments, infant Tylenol, and cozy clothes and blankets for a baby is a nightmare just to consider.
Thinking of older kids hungry, without access to fresh water, wearing wet, dirty clothes, and probably carrying diseases and conditions from walking through deep flood waters is almost unimaginable.
As we watched the suffering of refugees fleeing after the fact, one friend said, "If we were in charge, every kid would have Goldfish crackers, a Band-Aid and a blankie."
Not the answer to everything but I understood what she meant. Moms have a way of figuring things out, managing to make do and accomplish what's necessary to make everything all right.
There's been a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking since Katrina but it can't be said, "If we only knew then what we know now."