Thursday: relative normalcy

I took a shower and as I was getting dressed for work, I heard voices in the driveway. It was 6:50am and Fenner and Ellen were headed up the driveway to catch the bus again. It looks cold outside, I thought. And they’re wearing capris and thin sweatshirts with no coats! (But they did have their winter hats on.) They were 20 minutes early for the bus. They’d have to wait out there like that for 20 minutes. I checked the outdoor temp.  36 degrees. I let myself feel my motherly worry. Then I let it go. Downstairs I found the newspaper open to the weather page. They had checked and seen it was going to be warm today.

45 minutes later, I sat in my home office, dressed for work, considering attacking another pile of stuff while I waited for Charlotte to make her first move. I didn’t have much time to think. She came downstairs at 7:45 fully dressed. She thought for a minute and looked around. “Mom, where is my backpack?” I knew she had left it in the car on Tuesday. “I don’t know,” I said. “Errrrg! Then I’ll just have to look for it!” she said, close to tears. This was more than I could take. We were so close. I had to say something.

“Can you think back to the last time you saw it?” She thought. “Rrrgh, I didn’t go to school yesterday!” “Right,” I said, “So think back to Tuesday when I picked you up from school…then what happened?” “Oh …. it must be in the car.” Now I stopped talking, and she thought. “I think … I’ll get all my food and then put it in my lunchbox when I get in the car.” “Ok.” I said. So she walked to the car with an arm full of baggies and snack containers. She packed her lunch, announced she forgot something and went back inside, and then we were on our way.

When we got to school, I said, “Charlotte! On Tuesday you were half-an-hour late, yesterday you missed the whole day, but today you are on time for school!” Slowly her smile got big. “That’s weird,” she said. And then she got out of the car.

After work, I arrived at my sister Sloane’s house half an hour before Karate class. Charlotte saw me, waved, and kept on playing with a young girl that lives in the neighborhood. Ten minutes went by. I said to Sloane, “Huh. I really thought she would remember. I thought she would see me and say, ‘Oh! Time for karate!'” I waited ten more minutes and then I couldn’t stand it. I walked over to her and said, “Karate class starts in 10 minutes,” and walked away. I heard her say, “Oh yeah, I forgot.” But she still didn’t come to the car. Karate class came and went. She never mentioned it the rest of the day.

She did, however, mention her backpack. She left it at Sloane’s house and realized it halfway home in the car. She pleaded with me 3 separate times to go back and get it. Each time I said softly, “No, Charlotte. I’m sorry.” “That backpack has all my stuff in it, you have to go get it!” “Hmm,” I said, “I’ve seen you wear a smaller black one, and I can show you where the extra lunch boxes are.” (We’ll see what happens in the morning!)

The evening was quiet, but they stayed up later than ever. At 10:30pm Fenner said, “Mom, will you come say goodnight to me?” I told her yes, and she said, “I can’t believe those guys are still watching TV!”

Another 20 minutes went by and I checked to see if Charlotte and Ellen had fallen asleep on the couch. Nope. Still awake. Finally, ten minutes later, they headed upstairs. I followed them up. “I’m sorry Charlotte, but it’s too late to read a book.” “Oh. Will you just lay with me a little bit?” “Ok.” I said. “I’ll come back up after you brush your teeth.” But by the time I came back, she was fast asleep.

Then I went to say goodnight to Ellen. “Mooomm,” she said, “I forgot to do my homework…and I haven’t even looked at my spelling list.” “Hmm,” I said, “I can see that you’re worried about it.” She thought for a minute. “Mom? Will you quiz me in the morning … or … maybe Fenner could quiz me on the bus, and I could do my list … but then I still have to read a story too.” “Mmm. Well, it is a long bus ride,” I said. “Goodnight mom.”


Explore posts in the same categories: Week 1: Do nothing. Say nothing

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