It was an atypical Wednesday afternoon at the MM household.
And by atypical, I mean peaceful.
Merlot Girl (her new name, you like?) gets out early on Wednesdays, so I picked her up and took her for a haircut.
While she was pampered, I relaxed in a comfy chair, eating a tasty Subway salad and checking my emails.
We picked up Merlot Boy (you like?) from school promptly at 3pm. No rushing, no fretting.
We returned home to no evidence of destruction - no shredded magazines, no chewed up shoes, no signs of paw prints on the kitchen island.
All was good with the world.
And continued to be,
As the kids did their homework without fuss,
As I walked my two dogs around the block,
As I chatted with neighbors,
With one call to my cell,
My blissful bubble burst
"Hey," my friend said, "I've been calling you. Can I pick up my boy now?"
"What?!" I screamed into the phone, in shock, my brain slowly processing my mistake.
"Alright," she said, not believing me. "Just have him ready, okay?"
Why would my friend believe me? I've often pulled pranks of this nature; pretending I'd forgotten to pick up her kid, or neglected to feed him dinner, or let him swim in an unheated pool in 50 degree weather.
I don't do it much anymore (I'm maturing I guess), but rest assured it was only with a select few who I knew could
"Holy shit!" my stomach fell. "I forgot to take him home! Shit!"
Today was my day to carpool.
Realizing I was telling the truth she panicked, "Where do you think he is?" she asked. "How long do they keep the yard open?"
"I think someone's there 'til 6," I tried to reassure her.
"Alright, I'm going to look for him."
"No," I demanded. "Let me go. Please. I feel awful. I want to go."
I locked my kids in the house with a rushed, cryptic explanation. I sped through the neighborhood, slamming the gas pedal and making perfunctory stops. As I ran onto campus, I did not see him.
What if something happened? I thought. What if he's upset? What if he's crying? Why didn't he call anyone? Shit, I'm such an idiot.
And then there he was. Waiting.
I threw up my arms, "I'M SORRY, I'm sorry, it's all my fault."
I explained how I was supposed to pick him up, how I totally spaced (I'm mostly into the honest, adults are totally imperfect approach) and I promised him a huge ice cream. (Good, right?)
He was cool about it, unharmed, immediately taking advantage of the situation by trying to wrangle a cell phone from his mom.
But it made me think that something so obvious to us, like finding an adult or going to the school office to ask for a phone, isn't always obvious to a kid. When I asked him about this, he said the adult supervisor he knew was inside with another group, not on the yard, and he didn't think that the office was open. I explained to him the various options should this ever happen again. (Not by me, of course.)
I apologized profusely to the mom who was also cool about it (thank G-d), I came home and explained the situation to my son so he, too, would know what to do if I ever didn't show up as planned.
So my atypically peaceful afternoon ended precisely at 5pm.
It's just about 6pm and my house, once again, reeks of typical.
My son is bitching about feeding the dogs, my daughter is conference video-chatting with friends, and I am sitting at my computer, writing, with a nice, big glass of red wine by my side.
Dinner? Who's making dinner?
*graphic courtesy of Google Images