Life that is. Sometimes your best laid plans totally blow up in your face and you are limping toward the finish line thinking who needs this?
Well, you for one and me too, and others like us additionally. Sometimes no matter how hard you try or how well you mean, the day just, it just, falls apart.
Which led me to this glass of wine as the kids washed my car and a hunter green Toyota Sienna Minivan saluted me as she drove past the scene at 4:55pm. Because even the strongest get fatigued and sometimes five minutes to five o’clock isn’t going to cut it. Today was a day.
It started with the revised school supply list. Not to be confused with the district school supply list (the one conveniently located in the aisles of Walmart labeled “YOUR SCHOOL HERE”). That list, the list I bought from, held all sorts of things that my kids’ teachers didn’t need or want. Armed with the new lists, I weeded out the supplies I had purchased and readied myself and the kids for the returns that would have to be made. Little did I know, the same scene unfolded at at least half a dozen other homes in my area. We all descended, unwilling children in tow, to make our surrenders and converged at the place we are all most like our unencumbered selves; Walmart.
$7.95 in credit later (it’s not about the money, it’s about housing 11 spiral notebooks among other supplies) I turned down the school supply aisle. Big mistake. Gone were the composition books, the plastic, three pronged, two pocket folders. In place of the supplies I lacked stood bewildered parents, children wailing and the occasional lost soul looking for routine supplies such as number ten envelopes or bubble wrap. I didn’t have it in me. I needed a place that was more welcoming, calmer, kinder and more appropriately staffed… I needed Target.
So on we went. To the zoo that was Target. Did you know that if you waited until the weekend before school started that the uniforms there were 40% off? They are. Short story. If your child is an off size or wants to wear navy blue head to toe, including panties, you could score there. For the rest of us? The ones needing the multipack of hi-liters as well as SNACK SIZE ONLY ziplock bags? We came ready for war. Grab the cart reserved for a brood of four or more because frankly, you will need a blocker.
In the check out lane (finished the supply list VICTORIOUSLY!!!!), a mother behind me huffed and puffed and lamented her fate at having to bring snack (the audacity) for her son’s kindergarten class (all kindergarten parents hafta, sheesh!). I made small talk to discover that her son was attending a charter school, the one I had envisioned our kids going to (but hadn’t been selected for). I congratulated her on her fate (it is a lottery process) to which she replied, “What, like it’s hard”? all Elle Woods getting into Harvard in Legally Blonde. (This illustrates both my pettiness at not having the option to choose that school and my wounded ego at feeling somehow inferior as a parent all these years later. I am sincerely happy for the families I know that got into that school, I just wanted to be a part of it too, and I am not ashamed to admit that).
Then we traveled on to Sam’s (because I didn’t get my fill of wielding a giant cart holding kids yet), mostly so that I could stock up on spinach and chicken breast while ogling anything with equal amounts salt, fat and sugar… (diets, Amirite?!). But it didn’t have everything we needed, so…we went to the grocery store next. Fun!!!
When we got home and unloaded the groceries I let the dog out to potty in the backyard. He sort of dodged me but I thought it was just the cold shoulder since we were gone for a few hours and I left him alone with smooth jazz piped through the house (my husband evades me the same way when he comes home to this music playing). Only later did I realize he went through our garbage can in he master bed room, tearing each item into microscopic pieces all over the bathroom rug – to be clear, it was the dog, not my husband that did this.
This is be point in my night I cashed out a favor “coupon” Big Sister had gifted to me as an early birthday present. They could “wash my car” (swirling dirty water in circles around the lower third of my car) while I sat in a chair under the palm trees and had a glass of wine. Normally I would tell them they couldn’t – it would be messy and non-productive and I still had clothes to put away and dinner to make, but today I gave in.
Dinner could wait and the kids could get messy and my car could get sorta (kind of, at least on the bottom third) clean. I sat in the chair with the sun on my face and called a friend who I had cut off mid-sentence the day before when Little Sister felt ignored. I set aside all the stuff I “really should be doing” and did precious little. I watched my little buddies scrub and vacuum (mostly the door jambs – but I suspect they needed it too). As that green Toyota minivan honked in my direction and raised an imaginary glass in an imaginary toast I raised mine.
I am not perfect. Some days unfold so beautifully I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to be a part of them. Some blow up (into tiny pieces in the carpet, but I feel like we’ve talked about that already). The main thing is, I am still here, really wanting to be a part of it – even the rough patches, because it is worth it.