Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

Boardwalk ghosts

“Imagine this, buddy, in the middle of summer, especially near the Fourth of July. Wall to wall people, just sort of moving in and out of each other. Flashing lights. Loud music. Screams from Morey’s Pier, laughter on the swirly rides. Oh...and the food...ice cream, funnel cake, fudge, cheese steaks, pizza, fries...the smells alone would drive you nuts!” 
It’s 5:00 on the evening before his Nana’s funeral, and we’re standing in a windy drizzle on an empty Wildwood boardwalk. My mind has flashed back to the summer of 1991, when I spent a week here with my best friend. Wicked sunburn. Tandem bike adventures. Water slides. Thrill rides. A ground-shaking thunderstorm. Friendship bracelets. College guys taking showers outside. Ice cream and VCR movies every night.

Back in the here-and-now I’m trying to explain to Zippy what this place is like when it’s not October. He’s been to Rehoboth and Ocean City and Old Orchard Beach, but none of those come anywhere close to Wildwood in peak season.…

#WhyIMarch

Zippy and I hiked in the woods the other day, following the icy trails around Evergreen Cemetery. The cold air stung our eyes but the sun shone warm and bright, and it felt great to breathe fresh air. As he skipped and hopped and twirled beside, in front, and around me, I felt peaceful, happy, content. Until I realized the Womens' March is in a few days, I am going, and I don't know what to expect. I've never done anything like this, except for a few years ago at Occupy Philly, which was nothing compared to the numbers they're anticipating this weekend. The Women's March will be a peaceful protest, yes, but 200,000 is an awful lot of people in highly charged city during turbulent times. I felt anxiety creeping into my chest.

"So you know I'm going away this weekend, right? To Washington, D.C. For just two sleeps. Do you know why I'm going?" I asked Zippy.
"Because you don't like Donald Trump and he's going to be the President."
&…