This was me, this past weekend, as I realized at 1:38 p.m. that my daughter was supposed to be somewhere at 1:40. And that somewhere was 20 minutes away. Shiiiiiiiit.
While driving like a bat out of hell across town and silently chanting “Are you fricking kidding you mother fricking what the frick…” every time we hit a red light or got stuck behind some grandpa doing the damn speed limit, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw three frightened faces. Mommy doesn’t usually drive like this. Mommy is mad. Mommy is frustrated. With us? No. Mommy is frustrated with herself, which is far worse for her to deal with than when we screw up.
Because Mommy is a perfectionist. Mommy doesn’t make mistakes. Mommy doesn’t forget to pick us up and she knows which day is library day and she makes us eat fruit with lunch and brush our teeth extra when we eat candy and always makes sure we have clean underwear. Mommy knows the schedule because she has a giant family calendar and 3 marker boards (one for each kid) and an intricate system of post-it notes all over the house for extra reminders. And her phone dings at various times throughout the day to make sure she gets it all done.
So how did she mess up? How on the earth is it possible that she forgot? Well I’ll tell you. As I was praying for green lights and watching the minutes tick by on my mini-van’s digital clock, I realized something. Mommy has three kids, all of whom are playing sports. All of whom are in school. All of whom need to bring their teachers gifts this week on the last day of school. All of whom are enrolled in summer camp, swimming lessons, have eye doctor and dentist appointments, and need new sneakers. All of whom need to be fed and bathed and nurtured and loved and taught and disciplined. And Mommy does all those things. But sometimes there are just too many things.
Saturday’s calendar block read:
9 a.m.: Game
10 a.m.: Game
2 p.m.: Game (be there are 1:40)
2-4 p.m.: Birthday party
4 p.m.: Cub Scout campout
And Sunday’s was not much different, between church, Sunday School, and another game. Plus Mommy needed to fit in some meal planning and grocery shopping and cooking and laundry and maybe a workout and 3 minutes for herself if she was very lucky…
So what was the catastrophic event that Mommy forgot, even though it was written on the family calendar, clear as day? Softball team pictures. For a kindergartener. In 20 years will my daughter look back and say, “Damnit, my childhood was ruined because I missed team pictures that day in May”? Probably not. And as I sat there at that last red light, 20 minutes late, making my peace with the fact that we probably missed the photographer, I had a talk with myself. I said Mom, you need to chill the fuck out. Your daughter is giggling back there because her brother said toot and she cannot wait to ride her new bike later and she really wants to wear braids tomorrow to school. She’s okay. So you need to be okay and cut yourself some slack.
And in the end, guess what? She made the team picture.