The forgotten

“Mom, I forgot my gloves!”

“Oh.” We were in the car on our way to school. I glanced at the outside temp. Ten degrees.

“Charlotte, you can make do,” Ellen offered.


Charlotte sulked for the rest of the drive. I pulled into school and turned off the engine. “Bye mom!” said Ellen as she hopped out of the car. I waited quietly for Charlotte to make a move. “Mom, I want my gloves, it’s freezing!” “Yeah, I know. It’s cold today.” “Can you drive home and get them and drop them off?” “No, honey, sorry. Maybe you can borrow from the lost-and-found.” Silence. “Ok, I’ll go. The bell’s about to ring.” She carefully picked up her project that was due today and stepped slowly out of the car, making sure not to break it and going right past her backpack sitting on the floor of the car. “Bye, honey!” I said, as I forced myself not to remind her about her backpack. She’ll remember, I thought. She’ll get ten feet from the car and turn back around to get it. … She kept walking. … She chatted with a friend while she walked. C’mon, I thought, someone say, ‘Charlotte, where’s your backpack?’ Please…someone say that …. C’mon … turn around Charlotte, turn around, turn around … But she didn’t. She disappeared into the building and I waited another minute, still looking for her to run back to the car. No sign of her. Wincing to myself I pulled away … backpack, lunch, shoes, snow pants, homework, and all.

As I drove, I consciously controlled the voice in my head: She can handle this. It’s one day. She told me once that she likes indoor recess. Her friends will give her parts of their lunch. Maybe she’ll try a new food! And, oh yeah, she’ll have to sit out for gym class too. Sigh. It’s ok, she can handle this. I will not turn her problems into my problems. She won’t starve. She’ll be fine. And tomorrow’s a new day… and she may never forget her stuff again!

When I got to work my voicemail light was on. I took a deep breath and braced myself for a tearful message from Charlotte. But it was her teacher’s voice instead calmly conveying Charlotte’s concern about food for lunch and shoes for gym class and asking could you, if possible, bring the backpack in before 9:45?

No, sorry, I could not. I choose to trust that Charlotte will figure out her day without her stuff. To give her the space to learn from her mistakes. To show that she doesn’t need to be rescued. To allow resilience to take root and grow.

It starts here, like this, with the small things, so that when the big things come — and they will — she’ll be ready.

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

6 Comments on “The forgotten”

  1. tawnya Says:

    Wow! I often wonder if I am horrible when I choose to ignore the voicemail from my daughter…when I walk them to school and get back home, invariably there is a voicemail with “Mom, I forgot my…can you bring it in for me?” and no, I cannot. There was a time when I would but I’ve found that a) with pre-teen attitudes not making me want to do any special favors after such mistreatment and b) wanting my children to “drive their own bus”, I choose not to. And I like to think, with blogs like this and others doing this too, that I’m on the right track. Thanks!

    • flockmother Says:

      Definitely. The trick is to keep your own response with a neutral-leaning-toward-empathy vibe. Absolutely no eye-rolling or “I-told-you-so”‘s allowed. Then when they pop back up from the fall, point it out to them. Let them know you notice the effort and the progress. I just absolutely love seeing them beam with pride when they bounce back and do it on their own. Keep up the good work!

  2. Kristin Says:

    Could we get an update on how Charlotte is doing with getting up/ready for school in the morning?



  3. Debby Says:

    That is some fierce willpower!

  4. […] before she comes into her classroom.”   But I didn’t.  I am lucky I had just read flockmother’s latest post and all I could hear was “she can handle this”.  She’ll find them when she goes […]

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