Some days are super busy. Others are legitimately crazy.
And then there’s Monday.
This school year, Grace has her piano lesson on Monday afternoon, after school. Coincidentally, Anna’s soccer practice for the fall season starts 30 minutes after her older sister’s piano lesson ends, on Monday evening. This doubleheader of after-school activities is for eight weeks only, so…manageable, I thought.
Monday No. 1 of this eight-week schedule rolled around. I cooked a semi-homemade dinner of macaroni and cheese. Spooned equal portions into two food storage containers. Packed the girls’ to-go dinners into my brand-new, extra-large, heavy-duty cotton-canvas tote bag (“You can really hurt people with that thing,” Stanton recently observed, after my bag inadvertently knocked off-balance a little boy at Grace’s back-to-school open house). I stuffed some chocolate-chip granola bars in there too, for good measure, along with Grace’s piano books and Anna’s soccer gear.
I thought about pouring the rest of my freshly brewed coffee into a travel mug, but coffee’s a diuretic, and there would only be porta potties once we got to the soccer field. Not my favorite, friends. Not my favorite.
“Mom, they’re Big Tops,” Grace tried to assure me. “Those are, like, the nicest ones. They have real soap.”
As high-end as that sounded…still, no thank you.
…then there’s Monday.
The girls loaded into the car. I hoisted my bag into the trunk, along with folding chairs for the soccer field. Mounds of sand from our weeks-ago beach trip covered the floor of the cargo space, and someone’s pair of socks (probably worn and in need of laundering) were stuffed into a corner. Yuck.
“Girls, I think our car is a biohazard.”
Grace craned her neck around. “What’s a biohazard?”
Anna craned her neck too. “Did you remember my shin guards, Mom?”
Whatever. “Yes, I have the shin guards. Let’s roll.”
We arrived at Grace’s piano lesson a few minutes early. Early. That is such a rare and pleasant state of being in my life.
Another pleasant surprise was that the waiting room in the music studio had a new box of toys, perfect for any younger siblings who happened to have been dragged along. Anna dashed over. Immediately, she pulled out a neon-green tablet.
“Let’s learn the alphabet!” the tablet announced. “A! B! C…”
Wow, that little electronic was loud. And there were other people in the waiting room. I leaned over. “Anna,” I said. “Turn the volume down.”
“I love this, Mom!” D! E! F!
“Yay, I’m so glad. Please turn the volume down.”
At that moment, Grace’s piano teacher ducked his head into the waiting room. He apologized that his other lesson was running behind, so Grace’s would start 10 minutes late. “I’m so sorry,” he said. No worries, I told him.
But I gazed at the clock on the wall, to the right of the black-framed pictures of Beethoven, Mozart and other music legends. Now, leaving 10 minutes later, we would have 20 minutes to get to the soccer field, right in the middle of rush-hour traffic…but… G! H! I! “This should still be manageable,” I said aloud.
A nearby mom started chuckling.
I glanced over at her.
She made eye contact, and chuckled some more.
I smiled slightly. “Um…are you laughing at me?” I had to know.
This lady very kindly replied that she had been in my shoes, many times, with needing to get multiple kids to various places. And it could be tricky, even with loads of preparation and a positive attitude to boot.
The other mom and I pleasantly passed the time commiserating while Grace went in for her piano lesson, and Anna continued learning the alphabet (on a lower volume). Nothing brings forth good conversation like a little commiseration.
Ten minutes later than planned, then, the girls and I headed over to the soccer field. Amazingly, we had green lights almost the whole way.
“You know,” I said, as we cruised through the intersection at Wemple Road and 9W, “I actually think we’re going to make it.”
Indeed, Anna arrived at soccer practice right on time. Not a minute to spare, but still, right on time.
“Making it” when you think you wouldn’t is a good feeling, across the board. From little things like kids’ soccer practices to higher-stakes circumstances like health diagnoses and job opportunities. Sometimes, making it is such a pleasant surprise that the experience—however low-stakes or fleeting it may be—restores our faith in life.
Nothing brings forth good conversation like a little commiseration.
I’m in a book club that I love. I’m so thankful a friend introduced me to the group, which led to new friendships and, of course, good reads.
As it happened, I offered to host our monthly book club meeting on Monday night. Yes, after Anna’s soccer practice. Stanton was out of town, the girls’ favorite babysitter had other commitments…so if I couldn’t go out and meet up with the book club, I’d bring the book club to me.
“I can’t wait to see Sandy,” Grace said, when we got back home. She and Anna adored the fun-loving lady in my book club. “I emailed her, but I don’t know if she got it.”
I let my enormous tote bag drop. “You don’t have an email address, Grace…do you?”
Grace laughed. “I email people on my tablet, Mom.”
Grace’s tablet had an Internet connection? What the heck. I unlocked the back door.
Funnily enough, Anna’s preschool also was hosting a parents night that day. I couldn’t be in two places at once, but…yeah, I probably could have tried harder to make parents night happen. Like any Millennial mom, I felt guilty about that.
Thus, when I saw Anna’s super-sweet preschool teacher the next morning, I attempted to compensate by volunteering to make homemade play dough for the following week. The recipe is magnet-ed to my fridge now. Luckily, I had almost all the ingredients on hand (one notable exception: cream of tartar). I’ve never made play dough, and I’m not an arts-and-crafts-y type of person, but I’m optimistic (as always) this will be a fun weekend activity for my preschooler and me.
Like any Millennial mom, I felt guilty about that.
The girls and I FaceTimed with Stanton before he got back home on Tuesday evening. They caught him up on all our adventures from the past 24 hours: school, piano, soccer, book club, play dough, the weird smell in the backyard.
“By the way, Dad,” Anna said, holding the phone up close, “where are you?”
I laughed. In fact, I belly-laughed, friends. Because there are times when I have to pause and ask myself that question too.
I really don’t like to overschedule our family calendar. Every now and then, though, everything happens all at once.
And every now and then, with a little dumb luck and mostly green lights the whole way, we actually make it. ❤
Photo credit: Pixabay
Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short story, “Backtrack.” An engaging read that’s can’t-put-it-down good.