It was Monday, the day after Fallspiration 2011. I woke up, in a dark-ish room. The house was quiet. And there were no children in my bed. I felt, instinctively, as though I’d slept longer than I should have.
‘What time is it,’ I croaked. Because I am nearsighted and cannot see the time on the alarm clock without a considerable amount of squinting that is only possible when I am somewhat awake. The professor is farsighted and can’t see anything within six inches of his face. In the Gort’s estimation, this makes us perfectly suited for each other. Hopefully ‘compatible eyeglass prescriptions’ will be one of his lesser criteria when he chooses a spouse some day.
‘It’s 7.40’ the professor finally croaks back.
‘7.40!’ I freak out. Seeing as we [try to] leave for school at 8am. ‘Are you sure?’ I demand. Crossing my sleepy fingers that maybe he got the 7 wrong and it’s really a 6. Because I’m far too tired for it to be 7.40. And part of me wants to pull the covers back over my head and let still-sleeping children lie. But the responsible part remembers a scheduled coffee date with a friend (which also means I will have to add ‘shower’ to my list of things to do in twenty-minutes-or-less. And, it is school. I can’t just keep the Gort home because he’s sleeping. After a long weekend of biking and rock throwing.
‘Well, technically it’s 7.37’ the professor relents. And, just like that, with three ‘bonus’ minutes at my disposal, I catapult out of bed like a reverse pole jumper.
I run to the boys’ room. ‘Get up,’ I bark-plead, yanking on the Gort’s covers. The Hen is due at preschool, too, but not until 9.15. ‘I’m too sleepy,’ the Gort protests. Eyes closed. ‘You have to get up or we’re going to be late. It’s 7.40,’ I try to reason-alarm. The Hen, who is my earliest riser, bolts from his bed.
It’s a ‘playschool’ day and he will not miss it. He asks for his pirate shirt. The one that I promised to wash over the weekend. And never found. And never laundered. And isn’t this something out of a sitcom, this insisting on wearing a specific shirt to school – a specific shirt that is not laundered?! How have I been a mother for seven point five years and this has never happened to me?
‘It’s not clean, buddy,’ I try to break the news as gently as possible. And, in stark contrast to his older and younger brothers – who voice their displeasure as soon as they are displeased – he stands, quietly, clearly disappointed. While I try to figure out if he’s going to cry. Or rise to the occasion and willingly wear a different shirt.
I’m deluded enough to think that he is going to rally, to be the mature ‘well-perspectived‘ child who can step back and say, ‘okay I’ll just wear it tomorrow.’
But he is not. He is going to cry and I’m going to dig frantically through the laundry basket because I just might have time to wash and dry a load of laundry before preschool starts. I dump the contents of the basket on the floor. But I don’t see the pale blue shirt with the dark sleeves and the pirate and the gold coins.
Also, the boy doesn’t have any pants to wear. And I can’t remember now if we convinced him to wear shorts or what, but I promise to run to the mall later and buy him some pants. And I leave the professor to deal with the wardrobe malfunction so that I can tend to breakfast. And the lunch that must be packed. And is it picture day today – because I know it’s this week. Or is it the Terry Fox Run – because that’s this week too.
I kick myself for starting a brand-new week this way.
We scramble and it’s 8.06 by the time I plop into the driver’s seat. And I have to remember if the van clock is 2 or 3 minutes behind. And do we stand a chance of being on time?
I drive with purpose, muttering impatiently under my breath, when drivers take nanoseconds longer than they should. ‘Why did you say seriously,’ the Gort asks from the back, confused about my habit of questioning other drivers’ decisions.
We arrive at school and I realize the professor must have fixed the car clock, because we’re precisely on time. I stop in the middle of the road with my turning signal on; chase the Gort out of the car with an overly enthusiastic ‘have a great day’. As if that would somehow compensate for the pre-drop-off-craze.
I drive to the coffee shop. I turn right instead of left. So I backtrack and, to save time, I cut through a parking lot. Only to be stopped in my tracks when said parking lot doesn’t have an outlet to the main road. I backtrack more. I curse my stupidity.
Finally, I pull into the coffee shop parking lot. I am dishevelled. We drink coffee and talk and suddenly it’s 9.20 and I have to race home to pick up the professor and take him to work.
And go to the mall to buy some 4T pants.