The beginning of the school year started off so well that I was beginning to be afraid. I played nicely with the Mommy Mafia at the middle school open house. My kids haven’t run out of peanut butter, snacks or juice boxes and they love their teachers. I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I would be invited to this year’s Mother of the Year Awards Ceremony. I do not want to attend that mostly due to wardrobe issues. I am about to have two mortgages so there’s not a lot in the bank to buy something new. Second, you know how much it would cost to drape this ass in taffeta? Bring on the third mortgage.
Back to the topic at hand… things were going along swimmingly. Everything was so fabulous, I even saw a unicorn yesterday. Swear. Shit was bound to explode all over the place. I picked up Sugar at Skinny Bitch’s house and she was happy. She chirped along as we went to get Spice from the after-school program at the elementary school.
I walked in and Colleen gave me The Look. I knew something had happened. I braced myself to hear a story about Spice dropping an F-bomb or punching a fourth grader in the face. It was her second day at the program; the possibilities of what she might have done were endless. Colleen said, “Spice didn’t get off the bus here today.” Given that I had already seen my child playing happily, I knew that it ended well, so I am only a little ashamed to admit that my first feeling was one of relief that she hadn’t done anything wrong. As it turns out, Colleen realized Spice was missing and worked with the bus company to get her back to the school. I asked Spice why she didn’t get off the bus at the right stop and she said she forgot. I asked if she was scared and she looked at me strangely and said, “Noooo.” Oh that’s right, riding a school bus is an adventure and being the only passenger is the Bonus Jackpot.
I guess there’s a million ways I could have reacted. I could have yelled at Colleen and asked why she wasn’t waiting there for Bus #2 to take Spice off the bus, knowing it was only her second day. I could have called the bus company and screamed that the driver didn’t make sure she got off at the right stop. I could have emailed her teacher and demanded to know why the bus tag she wears around her neck doesn’t specify her drop-off point. I could beat myself up endlessly because I am not there to drop off and pick up and wrap them in bubble wrap before buckling them in their car seats. There’re a bunch people I could have blamed, but I’m the parent and it’s ultimately my responsibility to make sure my kids are taken care of at all times. There really would have been no point in berating anyone else involved in this mishap, because truly, she is my child and my responsibility.
We’ve done everything we thought was right. We have sent explicit notes to her teacher to detail her after school care. We’ve quizzed her endlessly about bus numbers and drop off spots. Even if I was less selfish and didn’t work outside the home, something could go wrong with me dropping off or picking up. We can wrap our babies in bubble wrap and protect them from villains and lions and tigers and bears, but there are still a thousand things that can go wrong.
As always, when I have an Eff Up of Epic Proportions, I told Skinny Bitch. I tell her everything, even though she’s been to EVERY Perfect Mother Award Ceremony for the past ten years. She never screws up AND she drives her kids everywhere, so nothing like this would ever happen to them. Skinny never, ever tells me out loud that I am a bad mother and if she thinks that on the inside, I am not aware of her feelings. But she never does anything wrong when mothering her kids, so I was delighted this morning to receive this text from her:
“Fucking Tooth Fairy forgot to come last night. Stupid bitch.”
While this may pale in comparison to my kid riding a school bus all over the wild blue yonder, we can honestly say that parenting is a job filled with fuck ups. We don't always do our best, but damn it, we sure try hard.