I’d just sat down to build my 105 floor on Tiny Tower, which I’d planned to name a jaunty “Cyber Sex,” when my kids got home from their grandmother’s. A couple of times a week, they visit my mom’s house, where they happily can eat cereal from plates and annoy my parents with their incessant chattering while I sit at home in my underwear, playing Tiny Tower and watching videos of dancing snails.
My eldest son burst into the house, a whirlwind of knees and elbows, and clomped out to the family room, where I was sitting on my iPad playing a pixelated game and pretending that I wasn’t as lame as, well, I am.
“MOM,” he yelled. “WE HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL NOW.”
Um. I’m not wearing pants.
“Why?” I asked, cautiously. There’s something in that child that turns every minor request into an earth-shattering conquest – like we were going to have to climb a mountain, drink our own urine to stay warm, and nosh upon whomever was not up to the challenge in order to get to his elementary school.
“IT’S MY SOLO TONIGHT!” he nearly took my face off with his screams.
Aunt Becky say wha??
That was the first I’d heard of a “solo” a “concert” or a “trip to school after hours.” I try to be up-to-date on all things kids-related, but this child, well, he’s as organized as a, well, okay, he’s not very organized. We’re working on it.
(and by “working on it,” I mean that when he hands me a stack of ancient papers for events we’ve already missed, by hair falls out)
The kid was SOL – Alex has an ear infection, Dave’s out of town, and I, well, I’ve had a migraine that makes me wish I could plunk out my eyeballs with a spoon just to stop them from quivering unpleasantly. The Guy On My Couch was going to have to take over for me for the night – I couldn’t send him to school with the kid, much as I wanted to.
“Sorry, kiddo, but we’re going to have to skip it,” I replied, and before I could continue to explain myself – inserting neatly an object lesson in telling people what you need them to do BEFORE you demand that they drop everything and do it for you – he began to scream.
“BUT MOM, THEY’RE COUNTING ON ME!” The teeth gnashing had begun.
“Ben,” I replied. “We have 14 minutes to get you dressed and ready to leave the house. Do you even know where this concert is?”
“NO,” he said, again yelling my face off. “BUT I GOTTA BE THERE, MOM. I GOTTA.”
The maternal guilt began flowing freely, dripping from both my eyes and ears. I knew it was a lesson he had to learn – had I been given a couple hours to plan, I’d have been able to find someone to take the kid, but with 14 minutes to go? I was fucked.
And OMFWTFBBQ the guilt.
Even now, well after the fact, I’m stewing in a nice puddle of maternal guilt. I WANTED the kid to get there – I wanted to SEE him play his solo. A GOOD mother would’ve made sure her kid got there and I couldn’t do it, therefore, I was clearly NOT a good mother.
To make a long, drawn out, histrionic conversation short, we didn’t go. When I stop feeling like shit about this, I’ll let you know.
I sent his teacher an email, explaining that I was very sorry, that we were all sick, and no one was around to help with Ben’s siblings. The guilt oozed from my fingertips as I wrote it.
After I hit send (carefully removing links to my blog from the bottom of my email signature), the guilt flooded me. I had to watch some Prison Break just to remind myself that I’m not THAT much of a failure. In hindsight, I should’ve watched Jersey Shore – Michael Scofield would’ve made an elaborate plan including both tattoos, the sun’s gravitational pull, and a single red Twizzler to make sure the kid made his solo WITHOUT being taken out by The Company.
This morning, I awoke to check my email to find she’d written me back, wishing to talk about my son’s future in music with me.
When I stop panicking, I’ll let you know.
I’m a grown-ass woman, and I’m STILL afraid to talk to a teacher about my son’s organizational problems.
If you need me, I’ll be under the bed, sneezing up cat hair and looking for my missing whore pants.