Thursday, September 30, 2010

This will make you feel better about yourself, I promise

First, if you're wondering where the next post in the Good Fruit series is, join the club! God has been showing me so much about love that I can't form a coherent thought on it yet. I'm praying that He and I can get it all worked out for tomorrow. Or maybe Monday...

Do you ever do something that makes you feel like the worst _______ (fill in the blank - mom, wife, friend, employee, ministry leader) in the world? If so, my Tuesday motherhood experience likely happened for the sole purpose of  helping you feel better about yourself.

Tuesday was a special day for the girls - their first dance class of the season! The after-school plan was quite elaborate, but I was pretty impressed with my ability to sort out the scheduling details.

I began the day by informing Abbey (8) that she could not join the choir because Tuesday choir practice would overlap with dance classes. And there was no way I could be at Shea's (5) dance class AND be picking Abbey up from the school at the exact same time. The reason I had to deliver this news at 7am on Tuesday - because I had already told her she could join choir and signed the permission slip!

I felt well-prepared for the after-school insanity. We left the house at 3pm (Shea, Kai  (3) and I). Leaving half an hour early turned out to be a very good move! Power was out in most of the town, traffic lights were not working, and it was the after-school hour. Needless to say, what should be a 10-minute drive took 22. But I arrived just in time to meet Abbey and Megan (7) at the local high school, where they transfer buses.

I was cheerful and smiling inside. After all, the sun was shining (finally!) and I had done it! I got them to dance class on time! Yes! (insert fist pump)

We sent Shea into her class and the rest of us hung out in the lobby. I mentally patted myself on the back for having the foresight to pack snacks, drinks, coloring supplies, and cars. My feet propped comfortably on a chair, I cracked the binding of a new book, thrilled at the prospect of whiling away the next 45 minutes in relative peace.

I don't exactly recall how it came up, but we were talking about Braeden (12) when it hit me - I forgot to leave a note at home to let him know where we were! First, I called home. Of course he won't answer, the power is out! Duh! Cordless phones don't work in power outages. Oh wait...He wouldn't be able to answer the phone regardless, because he can't get in the house - every single door is locked up tight!

(In the past, I had been leaving one door unlocked for those rare instances when Braeden's bus arrives and I'm not yet home. Yes, this decision was based in experience, thankyouverymuch. But last week, it seems I accidentally left the truck unlocked one night, and our GPS, portable DVD player, and B's PSP were all stolen. Since then, I have felt it wise to lock up all the time.)

I looked at my watch, 4:10pm. Shea's dance was scheduled to end in 20 min and then Abbey and Meg's class would begin. Braeden was scheduled to be dropped off at 3:45pm! I moved into not-quite-yet-frantic auto pilot.

"Girls," I looked at A & M, "Stay here. Be good. When Shea is done, bring her into your class with you. I'll be back." I looked to the small source of big noise, Mister Kai, and called to him, "Hurry up! Come with Mommy! We need to drive home quickly to get Braeden!" The drive home took 18 minutes, because they finally had police at the intersections directing traffic.

I whipped into the driveway and burst into the house calling Braeden's name! Of course he's not answering; he's not Caspar the Ghost and can't float through walls! Sheesh!

Kai stayed firmly trapped in his car seat screaming loud and proud his desire to be set free.

Our (brand new, just moved in last week) next door neighbor had not seen him, but she was kind enough to offer her home as a place of refuge for my son in the event of future negligence on my part. The sitter who lives down the street (and, incidentally, her mother - who is also Megan's teacher) also had not seen him.

Kai screamed on. At least I know where he is!

Breathe, Tyler, breathe. Think, think, think! I called the bus driver's home. No answer. I called the busing office - she'd get back to me. Two agonizing minutes later, as I paced the driveway around the truck and periodically said, "That's enough, Malakai. You have to stay in your seat." she called. The driver had taken B back on the bus when they discovered the locked door and couldn't reach me on the phone. She had one more child to drop off and would return with my son. Oh thank-you, Jesus!

As relief washed over me and the adrenaline slowed, it occurred to me that I had just left three little girls to their own devices at dance lessons. Another phone call as I confessed my complete incompetence to yet another person. Yes, they were safely in the studio.

After dropping B off, his bus driver very politely asked for my cell phone number (who can blame her?!), and I filled her in on the next door neighbor contingency plan. I did remember to let B know where we were going before Kai and I headed back to dance.

We arrived and retrieved Shea from the class, returning to our abandoned snack and coloring table. At 5:20, an influx of parents came through the door and headed down the hallway to wait for their dancing darlings. I opted to keep "loud and proud" out in the lobby for the sanity of every parental unit in the building. Ten minutes later two girls came running out.

Finally, we can just go home. What a day!

But wait, why do the girls look so unimpressed? They informed me, loudly and in front of numerous departing families, that parents were supposed to come in and watch at the end. Where was I???? I made humble apology and begged everyone to just get in the truck. The drive home took 6 minutes. Thank-you Lord that the power is back on. Oh darn, my dinner was in the oven on a timer. What am I going to serve now? Well, at least the TV would be working; that will keep everyone busy for a few minutes. I wonder what B did at home with no power? He was probably bored out of his mind, and couldn't even phone me to tell me! Nice job, Tyler. Mother of the year. Oh yes you are!

Please feel free to store this little gem in your memory banks and withdraw it at those precious moments when you feel the flames of humiliation climbing the back of your neck due to some incident of incompetence. Remember that while you are having a bad moment, at least you're not having a bad day in front of a dozen eye witnesses. Then you can smile and feel better about yourself at my expense. Yes, I am at your service.

Oh, did I mention that, as it turns out, dance lessons actually started last week?!


  1. Tyler, you are still super mom to me! You humbled yourself when you needed to and admitted the mistake you made. God is smiling on you because you did not lose your temper, but kept your cool under pressure.

    Well done my dear friend.

  2. I remember my parents having some of those moments as I was growing up. It's okay, we just laugh about it now ;)

  3. Tyler...You are mom of the year because you actually cared. Seriously we all get details and things mixed-up. You have five blessings to keep track of. This week, I have taken a hiatus from after school activities. Partially from laziness, but mostly due to my little man having croup. Fun times. ;D However your kids know you love them and you now know what you need to do in the future. No wonder you couldn't get anything done on Tues. ;-)

  4. I love hear other peoples families aren't perfect either. Kids can be a crack up, especially for what they appreciate and don't. You are doing a great work. Thanks for the post.


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