B drives the girls to hockey practice on Tuesdays and I drive on Thursdays, so I get to enjoy Tuesday afternoons. I make dinner, help the kids with their homework and wonder if this is what life would be like if we weren’t scheduled into the abyss. But this Tuesday, B didn’t show up. I called just to see if she was running late, but she responded, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry; I totally spaced and I forgot to tell you we’ve got a game today so we aren’t going to practice.”
As big, bad grown-up words scream around the vacant curves inside my head, I offer words of consolation: “Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal.” Then I quickly end the call and go into crisis “carpool just blew up, what am I going to do now?” mode.
What I’m going to do now is start finding things, fast: kids in the basement, kids at a friend’s house, kids across the street, down the street, around the corner, finding my keys, finding the dog, turning off dinner, throwing everyone in the minivan, hoping I don’t need gas (I do) and trying to get my kid on the ice on time (I don’t).
My kid freaked because she was late for practice. My son missed karate and almost missed Cub Scouts. I threw away a half-baked meatloaf and substituted cheese sauce from snack bar nachos as a protein source for dinner, and we almost did run out of gas, in the rain. So I wanted to write a letter to my carpool friend, one of those letters I know I will never send because I won’t have the guts to do it.
Please don’t worry about carpool this afternoon. Don’t beat yourself up because you used to be on top of everything and now that you’ve got kids, you can’t even remember Tuesdays.
Motherhood seems to pull my brain in so many directions that despite Sunday evenings devoted to “the week ahead” calendars, lists and three-ring binders filled with schedules, I still mess things up. Every day as I’m juggling a Tinker Bell lunchbox, putting on my mittens and trying to fill a travel mug with coffee (which I should probably do before the mittens), dropping my keys and stressing out about getting to kindergarten on time, I’m already wondering which kid is supposed to be where when.
I’ve forgotten kids at pick up 10 minutes after I told their mother, “Sure not a problem, I can pick the boys up from school.”
Once I even called 911 because I forgot about robots. I was standing in an empty schoolyard frantically searching for my child. The teacher had seen her leave with the other children, her brother stood waiting for her, but she never showed up. As my brain registered only the unthinkable thoughts, I dialed 911.
She’s about four and a half feet tall, red hair, wearing a dark plaid school uniform. The police continued to interrogate me, her little brother clung to me. On the phone with the police I saw my daughter walking toward me with her teacher, who had finally found her in the bowels of the school.
“Mom, you called 911? I’ve got Robots!”
Right forgot. Lego Robotics, Tuesday afternoons. I signed her up the week before. So I called the police and told them not to worry, they asked if I was sure, was I sure everything was okay? I told them yes, everything was fine, I just forgot. I forgot about robots on Tuesdays.
So I just wanted to say, forget about Tuesday. See you on Thursday.
Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is marayasteadman.com/. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.