Wednesday Woes

This morning I’m wracked with guilt. Guilt? Or is it just vicarious pain? Charlotte wanted so badly to catch the bus this morning. She did not want to ride in with our neighbor. She was willing to ride the bus all by herself and do the uphill walk to the bus stop and she had picked out her clothes and made her lunch the night before and even placed her back pack carefully by the door. I was totally amazed.

I helped her set her new alarm clock to the earlier time she needed to catch the bus. This morning I heard it go off, and I heard her hit the button, and then it got very quiet again. She went back to sleep. We’ve all done it. How could a six-year-old know how easily that can happen? Should I wake her up? I thought. No. She’ll learn this way not to close her eyes again if she really needs to get up. And then she’ll get a bit more sleep this morning, which she probably really needs. I’ll just re-set the alarm so at least she’ll be awake in time to catch the neighbor’s ride.

Her alarm went off again 30 minutes later. I heard her getting up and putting on the clothes she had laid out. Then Fenner called out, “Charlotte you missed the bus!” “No?!” “Yeah! It’s 7:00!” “Mom!!!! You didn’t set it!!!” I cringed and went in her room. “I did set it. What happened was the alarm went off at bus time and you turned it off and then you went back to sleep. So I set it again for you to wake you up at the regular time.” A look of total misery came over her face. “But I don’t waaaaant to go with them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she wailed and wailed. I wasn’t expecting this level of upset. It was heartbreaking.

“Ok Charlotte, since you made all this effort to prepare, you could still make it in time. If you’re your fastest self and you’re downstairs in 5 minutes I’m willing to drive you to the bus stop.” “Ok” she said.

I went downstairs and waited. The minutes ticked by. Finally she appeared at the top of the stairs and slowly walked halfway down and then sat. She rubbed her eyes and looked at me. “Charlotte? You’re running out of time.” “Well, will you drive me to the bus stop?” I looked at my watch. “Well if we go right now, you still might make it. I’ll get in the car.” So I did. And sat there. Then I heard a muffled “Mom!” from inside. I went back in. Charlotte was standing in the mudroom with a look of pure sadness mixed with desperation. “I can’t find my shoes! The blue ones. This mudroom is so messy I can’t find my shoes.” “Charlotte, I’m so sorry. You made such a good effort to prepare. You picked out your clothes and you made your lunch … but the bus is gone by now.” More wailing and crying. “Charlotte you have ten minutes until the neighbor comes. If you’d like to get something to eat, I’m willing to look for your shoes.” “I don’t waaaaaaant to go. Will you please, please drive me?” “No…do you want your crocs or your shoes?” “My blue shoes.” “Ok.” I looked around the mudroom a bit, but I was pretty sure they were in the car. I went out to look. In the back seat were both pairs of her shoes and all three of her coats plus her spare back pack, her favorite stuffy, and her karate uniform. I grabbed her shoes and one of her coats and went back inside. “Charlotte, in the car was both pairs of your shoes and three of your coats. So when you leave your stuff in the car like that it makes it hard to find things.” That just made her cry all over again, “Oh, I missed the bus all because of me!!! I’ll never get the bus, never, never, never!!!”

The neighbors arrived and she was sitting in a chair in the dining room, despondent. “I’m not going,” she said. I felt my insides tighten. I had appointments and meetings today. The neighbors were waiting. “I’m sorry Charlotte, but today you have to go.” I didn’t know what else to do. I tried to pick her up out of the chair. She resisted hard. So I started talking, probably too much, and struggled to keep any anger out of my voice, “I’m sorry Charlotte, but I have meetings today. You have to go. Waking up for the bus will just take a little more practice. Next week we’ll figure out a plan to make sure you wake up. But right now, this is your ride to school.” And then I did what I thought I had given up doing forever. I pulled her to her feet, stuck her arms in her coat, and gently pushed her out the door. She walked slowly with slumped shoulders and got in the car. And then I handed the neighbor her back pack.

As they drove away, it was my turn to slump my shoulders. Feels like when the good days get better, the bad days feel even worse.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 2: Buttons? What buttons?

2 Comments on “Wednesday Woes”

  1. sblanck Says:

    C –
    I’m re-reading to steady myself during my DnSn week. I love love love this last line –
    “Feels like when the good days get better, the bad days feel even worse.”
    Thank you for my daily dose of inspiration! Hope you are well –
    xo S


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