This morning I got up early to make sausage and blueberry pancakes for the kids before school. I woke them up by opening curtains and gentle nudges. Three out of four came down to the kitchen dressed, so that was solid. I helped Diana and Chance wrap their teachers’ flowers (Teacher Appreciation week) in wet paper towels, handed them lunch bags, and watched them get on the bus. Sylvia was all ready with brushed hair and teeth. Time-wise we had two minutes to spare. I sent Evelyn upstairs to get dressed while I labeled the water bottles for preschool, grabbed their lunch bags, and checked that their bookbags were filled with washed sheets for nap time. Sylvia had her handmade card for her teacher and I shoved Evelyn’s card in my purse. We were exactly on time and I felt like getting up early was totally worth it.
Evelyn came down dressed and I told her what a wonderful job she had done when I noticed that she was shoving her brother’s pokemon cards into her purse.
“Nope,” I said. “You can’t go into Chance’s room and take something that doesn’t belong to you.”
Big tears, gulping sobs, total meltdown. One minute late.
Sylvia called to me from outside. I went to the garage and used the remote to open the minivan door. It’s parked in the street because we’re having our driveway worked on, so I stand there to watch her get in safely. Then I went back inside and find Evelyn scrunched under the bench in the play room.
“Just grab something else for naptime.” I tried to keep my tone chipper. Seven minutes late.
“It’s in the basement,” she said from underneath the bench.
“Fine, just come on. Hurry so Mommy’s not late.” I run to the garage to make sure Sylvia is still in the minivan and not wandering in the street. Construction workers are coming down my driveway. Lots of them. Trying to get the rock settled before the rain.
“EVELYN, COME ON!!!”
I walked outside so I can see both the garage door through which Evelyn needs to come and the minivan door that is opening and shutting as Sylvia played with the buttons. I have zero control over this situation.
Evelyn finally comes outside carrying the whole plastic bin of My Little Ponies. On top are two Barbie horses.
“You’re not allowed to take all that, Evelyn.”
“You said I could get something from the basement.” She sat down in the wet grass, crying again.
Construction workers are huddled together watching us and talking. My face turns red.
“I’ve got to get to work, come on.” I look at my watch.
Now Sylvia is calling from the minivan asking if I’m coming or not.
“Let’s go,” I yell. I pick up the bin of toys. “We’ll figure this out at school.” I feel the construction workers judging me, thinking I should get spinach and coal for mother’s day.
Evelyn followed me, sniffling. She cried the whole way to school because I was so mean. I didn’t look out the window at the construction workers as I drove by. If I had, I would have rolled down the window and shouted, “I made sausage this morning. And pancakes.” I might have honked my horn, too.
At school the teacher tells Evelyn these toys are not allowed. Evelyn shrugs like it’s no big deal and goes to play. Both girls give the cards they made for their teachers. I carry the bin back to the car. I’m exactly on time because I didn’t take the sandwiches out of the twins’ lunch bags, label them, and put them in the preschool fridge like I was supposed to.
As I pulled out of the preschool parking lot the song “I Need a Miracle” by Third Day comes on.