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Just in time

I used to be a punctual person. Truly. If you said be here at 5:00, I'd be there at 4:58 -- enough time to check my hair in the rearview mirror and file that snag off my fingernail.

And then I had a child.

It was like the universe said, "ok, lady, it's either the kid or the timeliness; there's absolutely no room for both." Suddenly, no matter how much lead time I gave myself, I could not arrive on time. Because, as I quickly learned, when you have a child, there's always one more thing you need to grab on your way out the door, one more outfit to change because of an errant spit-up or spilled juice box, one more "Mommy, I have to pee!" So, ok, fine. I resigned myself to always being a couple minutes late.

But then I had a second child. And just like that, a couple minutes late turned into 15 minutes late (or 30, but who's counting?). Always. No matter how early I get up in the morning. No matter how well I've packed the diaper bag the night before. No matter how well I think I've plotted out the Leave The House Scenario. And being late always stresses me out. I hate being late!

I tell you all this to set up this morning's ride to church. As usual, especially on Sunday morning, I was running through the house at the last minute -- literally putting my shirt on while buckling Jake's car seat -- yelling "Come on, Hayden! We've got to go NOW!" when I noticed Chris putting the final touch on Hayden's church outfit: A digital watch with Lightning McQueen on the face.

Keep in mind as you read the following conversation that the watch, in Hayden's mind, is just telling him numbers; he really has no concept of what they mean, as far as time (and lateness) goes:
H: Mom! It's nine-two-five!
Me: Great, baby, thanks for telling me. Let's hustle. Church starts at nine-three-oh.
H: OK, Momma. Let's go. [Mom plops baby's carseat into its base, buckles H into carseat, then scoots into her own scorching hot seat] Mom, it's nine-two-six.
Me: All right, buddy. Here we go. [Backs car out of driveway too fast and shuttles up the street, hurtling over speed bumps, praying there are no kids out playing this early on a Sunday]
H: Mom, it's nine-two-seven! I like seven!
Me: I like seven, too, babe. But I kinda like six better. [Pulls up to first stop light; the car is still steaming and the sweat begins to trickle down my temples]
H: Why do you like six better, Momma? Because of its fat belly?
Me: Uh-huh, yeah, because six has a nice little tummy like me.
H: Mommy, what's the number that's like a square on top of a square?
Me: Eight?
H: Oh, yeah. Mom, it's nine-two-eight, nine-two-eight, nine-two-eight [a little song ensues about the virtues of eight].
Me: OK, love, we're almost there. [Starting to freak out a little bit because we're at the second stop light, still at least 5 minutes away and church is starting in two minutes -- has probably already started -- and we'll still have to find a parking spot, get unbuckled, run across the lot....turn, light, turn, dammit!]
H: Hahaha! Wanna hear something funny, Mommy?
Me: What, babe? What's funny?
H: It's nine-two-nine! Hahahaha! Two nines? Get it? Nine-two-nine! Hahahaha!
And just like that, it doesn't matter when we get to church, nor does it matter that we're always late for church, and it doesn't matter how many eyes roll as we tromp our way through the back of the sanctuary. Because right now, me and my boy are sitting at a stop light cracking up about two nines.


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