It’s that time of year again. February is the month that I officially begin my campaign with the school district to be nominated for the office of Mom of the Year. Like most of the years that have come before, my platform proposes adding late start to the regular school menu. The truth is that I have never been a morning person: When I was in high school, we had a foreign exchange student who lived with us my senior year. She quickly learned that it was counterproductive to talk to me in the mornings. We would get ready in silence, I would drive us to school without speaking, and then by lunch time I was, as she put it, a new person … chatty, friendly, fun. There were really no exceptions to this. One morning halfway through the school year, when I turned my 1977 red, Ford Pinto engine over to leave for school, the car lurched forward as flames exploded from the engine. We looked at each other. She said nothing. I said nothing. We both walked into the house in silence to get my Dad to help us put out the fire. Have I mentioned that I just don’t do mornings?
I have been able to temper my morning crabbiness since having children. Without fail, I sing to them each day “Rise and shine, and give God your glory”. I gently prod them and remind them to get out of bed, while my thoughts take me to a much gloomier place:
Whose idea was it to have school start this early?
How many days until summer vacation?
This year has been no exception. In fact, my morning sluggishness recently reached new heights. Last week, I woke up all five of my children to prepare us for our day. As usual, we were running late by the time that I managed to get everyone sorted, find my car keys and get my third and first graders into the van. I mentally calculated how much time we needed to get to the elementary school, having once again surrendered my morning coffee to the chaos of morning. Phew! We could still make it!
After we were all seat-belted in, I set out on our journey. It’s true, I was thinking about my day. I still needed to get ready for work, wash four loads of laundry and figure out what to make for dinner. My thoughts jumbled together as I stopped at the school to let the two littlest of our crew out for the day. Missing assignments. Violin lesson. Broken door on the washing machine. Coffee.
No one moved.
No one spoke.
“Hey guys, time to get out. You made it just in time.”
My nine year old looked at me with an expression that spun my mommy senses onto high alert. Something was clearly not right.
“Aidan, what’s wrong? Zoe?” I turned towards them with concern.
As I looked up, I realized that I had driven them …. to the high school.
“Oh no, I went to the wrong school.”
The car fell silent.
“Well, that was a silly mistake,” I teased, hoping to deflect the attention from my obvious break from morning reality. As we drove to the elementary school, Aidan and Zoe joked that this was one of the funniest days of the school year. I laughed with them, while I wondered how I was going to explain this to the school. Right at that moment, Aidan piped up and asked “Mom, what are you going to tell the school about why we are late.”
Being a grown-up can be such a bummer.
“Aidan, honesty is always the best policy. I will tell them exactly what happened.”
“But they will think you lost your mind.”
I think that horse is out of the barn.
“Well, buddy, it’s never ok to lie, so I’ll have to accept the consequences” … and I did.
For the record, when I’m nominated as Mom of the Year, I am asking for a bedside coffeemaker as my inaugural gift.