A Humbling Start to the Day

I have had one of those mornings. A very humbling morning. Nothing of major consequence happened but I certainly walked away from it all feeling like some of the air had been let out of my tires. It is important to know that as a coach’s daughter the concept of being on time is deeply ingrained in me. And not just on time. Inconveniently early. Have you heard the phrase “If you are early you are on time; if you are on time you are late”? That’s my inner monologue shouted out for the world. I have made it a habit of always adding a 15 minute cushion into any travel time estimate. When I had kids I knew that getting more bodies moving in the right direction would take more time…so now I’m probably working with a 25 minute cushion. I have rarely needed it. A friend of mine recently told me she was following behind the Big Van on the way to the diaper bank where we were both set to volunteer that morning. She turned to go do some quick grocery shopping…I went straight there to sit and wait. I spend a decent amount of time waiting 15 minutes for things to start.

But today my cushion of time to get the kids to school was not quite cushion-y enough. They were slower. We had a scrunchi emergency. We had to gather rain jackets. And then there was traffic. One of the main roads on our short trip to school gets pretty hectic right around drop off time, and I was feeling especially benevolent apparently because I kept letting other cars into the line. And it was pouring down rain, so lots of extra kids were being driven to school it seemed. So we sat waiting a little extra long to enter the actual car line. The kids had 4 minutes until they had to be in class. I have clearly passed on my need to be early to the 3 little ones I was dropping off for Elementary School this morning. I could feel their panic. I would not be surprised if one of them eventually fell running down the hallway to get to their classes. Especially the one who had to make it across campus to his class’s “Learning Cottage” (the fancy word for classroom trailer). I drove away feeling worried on their behalf.

The next stop on morning errand was to go to the pediatrician’s office with a preschool application form that needed a signature from our doctor to certify that William was up to date on vaccines. We had been in for his well check just a couple weeks ago, but the forms were not yet available when we went and while I had gotten a vaccination record I still needed the signature for the form to be complete. That was it. Just the signature. I had the vaccination record in hand. From their office. I was briskly informed that this would require me to fill out a (somewhat lengthy) form requesting form completion. And that there was a 5-7 day turn around. I calmly explained that I needed to turn the form in today, and that I didn’t really NEED a form filled out. I just needed a signature. She repeated that I would need to submit a request form for my form. I started to panic that not having the form would keep me from registering my son for the preschool the girls had gone to (and I LOVED) and so I plopped down and filled out the form for the form and handed it in and walked out. I was not at my most pulled together.

I might have skipped turning in the rest of the application for fear that missing the medical form would make it incomplete, but I had promised Will that we were going to stop by the preschool, and he was too excited to contain himself. So we went to turn in his application…we saw the preschool director and she bent to shake Will’s hand, and he offered her his left hand hand, glancing around trying to take it all in, at which point I realized he had egg still on his face from breakfast. I was really knocking this parenting thing out of the park today. I explained the situation with the medical form. And the lovely preschool director reassured me that the form was due in August. I was impatient with the office manager for nothing. At this point I decided I was driving back to apologize for my bad attitude. (I hadn’t been rude, but I had been annoyed and I know how much an interaction like that can suck the joy out of someone’s day, and I didn’t want to leave it.) When I arrived at the doctor’s office the form was signed and ready. I apologized sheepishly (although I think it had had a greater impact on me than the woman on the other end of my earlier frustration but I know we both came away from the apology feeling better about the day.)

Next stop: school lunch. I had promised Gracie that I would come to school to eat lunch with her for her birthday (which had been on Sunday) and so we decided Tuesday would be a great day to share a lunch. In our school, if you have a parent come for lunch, you can have one classmate join you and your parent at a separate table to eat and talk. Grace and her BFF, who share a birthday, sat with William and I and we had a lovely lunch time talking about books we loved and things that are silly, and how sometimes too much silliness can be annoying…a truly delightful lunch. And then one of the girls glanced at the clock. It was past time for them to return to class. (I didn’t know what time lunch was officially over. I had arrived 25 minutes early after all.) I had assumed their class would line up and let us know they were leaving. Not the case. I looked over at my girl and she had tears in her eyes and panic on her face. I promised the girls it would be okay and that I would walk them back to class. The teacher didn’t seem bothered at all…I was a little worried they hadn’t been missed…but then it was time to return home.

I haven’t been in peak form today, folks. I have gotten a lot of things checked off my list. I have screwed most of them up at least a little. But the preschool application was turned in; the medical form was completed and signed; I had a delightful lunch with my girl, and everyone made it back to class (just a couple minutes late). So I guess the moral of today’s story is: some days you might just be off your game. Here’s hoping the day makes a comeback.

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