Forgetting Someone Else’s Child
I should have written it down: “Add Mark to carpool on Wednesday morning.”
But I didn’t. Several of my neighbors’ kids go to the same school, and since one neighbor is also a teacher there, her kids usually are onsite well before mine. But she called late the night before to say that her eighth-grade son would need to sleep in and asked if he could ride with our carpool.
“Sure thing, no problem! We try to leave at 7:30, so just have him walk over then.”
I had a brief moment where I thought to myself, Should I add that to my calendar for tomorrow morning? Nah, I’ll remember.
The next morning, Jeff left early for a meeting so it was quite chaotic as I was getting the kids ready for school, making sure they had all their athletic gear, making lunches, and getting ready to head to a local morning speaking engagement as soon as I dropped the kids off at school. Normally, I would be late running out the door, but I was so proud of myself that for once, I would be able to be on time! The other family we carpool with always seems to be waiting expectantly in the driveway when the clock ticks over at 7:30, and we usually speed into their driveway, frazzled, five minutes late. Or more.
Hah! I thought, I’ll be waiting in their driveway at 7:30 for once!
Proudly, I ushered my kids into the car, closed the garage door, drove to the other neighbor’s house, picked up their kids, Brad and Ellie, and headed for the road. About two minutes later, my eighth-grade daughter looked at Ellie’s volleyball bag and suddenly sat up straight. “Mom! I forgot my water bottle for the volleyball game!”
I groaned. There went my time margin! Now, normally, I would stick with our boundaries about responsibility and say, “Sorry, honey… I guess you’ll have to use the water fountain.” But she hadn’t been feeling well, and I didn’t want her dehydrated while playing this intense game. So I turned around, grumbling to myself—and to her—that this would risk making us late.
I drove back to my street, pulled hastily into our driveway… And there is her classmate Mark standing at the front of our house, looking forlornly through the windows.
Have you ever had that Oh. My. Word. feeling?? That Oh, I’m a bad mom feeling? That Oh, I’m a bad friend, feeling?
Yeah. All at once. Kicking myself for being too busy, too frantic, to remember our sweet neighbor child, I pretended I came back because I remembered he needed a ride.
All the kids laughed.
I guess they know me.
I resolved that from now on, I am writing things down! When I’m in such a busy season, I can’t trust my memory! And I can’t afford to make that mistake again.
Late that afternoon—after my daughter’s volleyball game ran late—I offered to drive back a group of girls who live a few miles down the road, so their parents would have a shorter distance to pick them up. Chattering, we headed for the door, and started loading into my van.
Suddenly, I hear a knock on the driver’s window. Sweet Ellie is standing there.
“Um, Mrs. Feldhahn, aren’t you driving me back, too?”
At least I didn’t get two miles down the road that time.