This morning as I jumped into the car after dropping of my youngest at her preschool for special needs, my phone rang. I answered, unsuspecting.

“Jennifer?” I heard a measure of desperation in my friend’s tone. “Remember when you said you’d help us out at Mother’s Day Out if we were in a bind?”

My heart took off in a sprint. I searched my brain for something to say. “I think you have the wrong number.”

She didn’t buy it. “Your number is programmed into my phone. We need someone to help out today. You said you would.”

A sheen of sweat broke out on my forehead. “Are you sure I said that? Maybe it was my evil twin.”

“You don’t have a twin. It’s just for two hours.”

I wondered if I could get a doctor’s note, but she used some powerful negotiation tactics on me. “It will pay for your next three trips to Starbucks.”

“Okay. What time do I start?”

I showed up for battle and expected things to go well. After all, I used to teach special needs preschool. I was a professional. Sadly, my body soon reminded me that my preschool days were many years ago before the speeding truck of motherhood had put several potholes in my system. After three renditions of “Going on a Bear Hunt” and six rounds of peek-a-boo, I glanced at the clock. Surely it had been an hour. No such luck. Only 10 minutes had passed. Their little bodies swirled around me in a mass of lisps and high-pitched voices. My hands were numb from crawling like a puppy and I needed a nap.

Well, I survived the day, although I’m pretty sure my first-grader will have to put me to bed tonight. But I have to say that I gained a whole new level of appreciation for my daughter’s preschool teachers today and for mothers of preschoolers all over the world. It’s a demanding job. We’re talking boot camp level some days. Kudos to all of you. I’d give you a hug, but I can’t move my arms.