Today I couldn’t find my iPhone, so I asked my daughter if she had seen it. In the ultimate exasperation that only an 18-year-old daughter can deliver to her mother, after several sighs, she told me to call it.
So I did precisely that: “Emily’s phone, where are you? Ally, ally, oxen free, come out come out where ever you are.” To which my phone replied, “I don’t know how I’m going to last the whole summer with you.”
Then I got it. She meant I should dial my cell phone number on another phone so I could hear it ring and thus find it. My kids think I’m scatter brained but they have never walked a day in my shoes as the master family facilitator. I bet my job is as difficult as Winston Churchill’s. The details, warring fractions, negotiations and strategic logistic planning is mind-blowing, especially if you are a single mom and work.
I’ll be 5 minutes to leaving the house en route to my job when my daughter will face time me in a panic. “I have so much work. It’s so unfair. My paper’s due in 20 minutes and I need you to proof read it. NOW! Also, see if my thesis makes sense and the 12th paragraph is coherent…and I need a conclusion. Be sure to put all your corrections in a different color print so I can see them. I should have printed this out hours ago. MOM!!! You know about old Norse literature and the Orkeyinga saga, don’t you?”
Then there’s my son who needs a navy blazer tomorrow morning for an important high school debate. I tell him to use the one I got him last fall. He comes out of his room wearing the blazer which falls above his hips and the sleeves are a good three inches too short, closer to his elbows than his wrists. It’s ten o’clock at night. What does a mom do? I call his friend’s mothers to see if they may have one in his size that we could borrow. No luck. We go into my late husband’s closet so he can try on one of his Dad’s. They are all circa 1980’s with the jacket length almost kissing his knees . This I can fix. Not with a needle but with duck tape and staples. The only problem is my son’s shoulders are much too broad for the jacket and he can’t move his arms or talk without making strange faces and sounds. He decided not to wear a blazer, just a shirt and tie.
And then of course just recently there was the disaster when I took my kids into the big city to get “cultured,” have dinner in a nice restaurant and go to Avenue Q, an off Broadway play that my friends highly recommended. I was so worried that I’d forget the tickets or the parking voucher I found on Groupon, I left my wallet by the computer where I ordered everything.
Picture this we are in the latest, greatest overpriced Manhattan vegan restaurant and after ordering drinks, appetizers and main course, I feel an overwhelming sense of panic. I discretely check my handbag only to confirm my worst fears. I have no as in ZERO money or credit cards. I forgot my wallet! I don’t mind washing dishes to pay for a meal, although my kids would probably have a problem with it but I don’t think that’s really an option– just part of an old black and white movie on PBS. Finally, I remember I have a check in a hidden pocket, but still I don’t have my driver’s license or any identification. I don’t want my kids to worry. Tonight is supposed to be a night of cherished memories and culture, not a night where mom screwed up… again.
I excuse myself from the table and make my way to the maitre d’. I explain calmly and ( I hope) a cultured voice about my unfortunate oversight. She tells me the restaurant doesn’t accept checks, ever, but she’ll explain my situation to the manager. I go back to the pleasant dinner table where my children are pondering what overpriced desserts to order. Can you say STRESS?
In the end everything kind of worked out. The restaurant accepted my check. The kids didn’t get t-shirts or snacks at the play but I had old lint ridden gum in my hand bag to savor and I had prepaid for the parking garage voucher. The only really uncomfortable time of the night was during the play which was acted out by Sesame Street type muppets when two muppets were having oral sex?! Thanks for the recommendation friends! It certainly made for interesting, pleasant driving home conversation with my children.
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