Hunting wabbits

Remember how well the first day of school went for us way back in August, after I was so nervous that we (I) might backtrack into old bad habits? Well, who knew the bigger challenge would be today—the LAST day of school?

The girls get out at noon today for the summer. Ellen has an ice cream party for which she needed to bring her favorite topping to share (whipped cream), and Fenner needed to contribute to a potluck fruit snack, and Charlotte just needed to bring herself.

First of all, lately I’ve been feeling disorganized in the morning and so I was already annoyed with myself about that, especially when Fenner is the one waiting for me to get in the car. Then at 2 minutes past our agreed departure time, Charlotte was still inside. I backed out of the garage. “Mom, let’s go!” said Fenner. “I know…I know…I’m sorry but I just can’t on the last day of school when you guys get out at noon, for her to be half an hour late and me late for work….I just can’t do it.”

Just then Charlotte came out of the house close to tears, “I can’t figure out how to turn the music off on the computer!” She had been playing songs on iTunes right up until the last minute. I stared at her, contemplating my next move. Then Ellen piped up, “Mom! Do you have that picture I wanted to show my teacher today?” I shut my eyes and took a deep breath. “Come on.” We rushed back inside. I heard myself say, “Charlotte, this cannot happen again.” I grabbed the mouse and did it for her, “Here, you click on this and then it closes and the music turns off.” Then I turned and ran upstairs to get the photo that Ellen wanted to bring in.

Finally we were all in the car, just five minutes off schedule. Ok….we’re ok…. I started driving.

About a mile down the road I glanced in the rear-view mirror. “Ellen, do you have the whipped cream?” Her eyes got wide. “I forgot.” I put on the brakes. “Fenner, do you have the strawberries?” She got a scared look on her face and managed a tiny, “no.”

I had received many parent notices and reminders about bringing these food items, so this sent me right down the rabbit hole. I gritted my teeth and started to turn around. “No, mom!” wailed Fenner, “You can’t go back!” “I have to,” I growled, “other people are counting on you to bring this stuff in … other people … and I spent my time and money getting the stuff!” I managed to bite my tongue after that.

“I’m sorry guys,” said Ellen from the back, “I’m really sorry.” A few seconds went by and then she said, “Fenner, I’m not going to apologize if you glare at me like that!”

Once again I lost control of my mouth. “Fenner you’re in this too,” I snapped. “I know that mom.” “Well, glaring at people isn’t going to help.” Silence.

I pulled into the driveway in a huff. Fenner and Ellen ran in to get the food. It was quiet for a minute and then I heard Charlotte say softly, “Mom? Remember when you wore tape on your mouth? Remember that was so you wouldn’t get like this … I don’t like it.”

As we drove, Charlotte’s words slowly sank in and by the time we got to school I was relaxed again. “Charlotte? Thank you. Thank you for reminding me why I needed that tape.” She smiled and hopped out of the car. Ellen hopped out too, whipped cream in hand.

So not worth it, I thought. All the strawberries and whipped cream in the world are not worth what that just did to our relationship and to the start of our whole day.

Then, as I pulled into a parking space at work, I glanced down to see the photo I had gone all the way back inside to get for Ellen tucked carefully into one of the cup holders.

Food for thought:

entanglement |enˈta ng gəlmənt|


• a complicated or compromising relationship or situation from which it is difficult to escape

• an extensive barrier, typically made of interlaced barbed wire and stakes

Explore posts in the same categories: Weeks following: Miscellaneous

2 Comments on “Hunting wabbits”

  1. Debby Says:

    Ooooooh, I’m so sorry! I know that feeling and it is awful. Thank you for your honesty in sharing a backslide. The pressure from outside expectations is brutal on our egos, because of course it would be seen as your negligence if they showed up without their goodies. And a perfect example of how very hard it is to stay focused on your best when problems keep piling up – you can push through two or three but when you get to the fourth insult of the morning, that’s it – BOOM! You are so inspiring to so many mothers, remember you are instilling your kids with your messages of love and respect every day. Tomorrow is your next chance.

    • flockmother Says:

      Thank you! I love that phrase, “Tomorrow is your next chance.” I’m going to say that to myself next time the rabbit hole looms large… 🙂

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