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Bad Mama

More than once, my mother has told me that I am a better mother than she was in certain regards, namely in patience. I appreciate it, even if that kind of praise slightly embarrasses and humbles me.

Well, mom, this one is for you!

Simon is at the University of Louisville soccer camp this week from 9-12 daily. Today I had some errands to run, so I left my house at 10:30 to give me plenty of time to hit the post office, the copy place, etc. before driving over to the U of L campus.

The errands themselves went very smoothly, and at 11:25 I found myself heading towards camp. I didn’t have much time to spare, but I should have arrived just on time. Instead, I got stuck at 14 red lights, behind a moped going 15 mph, behind a driver who sat through two green lights oblivious to my honking, and at one point had to get out of the car to remove throw pillows from the street. Yes, throw pillows. Scout’s honor.

At 11:58 I pulled into the parking garage, lucked into finding a spot right away, played human Frogger to run across the road to the field hockey fields where Simon’s group plays, and got there a mere one minute late.

That’s when I learned that the kids were inside because of potential lightning. I found the right indoor room and located Simon at exactly 12:04, feeling immense relief. At which time I was greeted by a slightly teary and very surly child, whose opening salvo was:

“Why are you so late?”

Four minutes. He called four minutes “really late”. He doesn’t know late. He clearly has never, ever stood on the front steps of the JCC waiting, waiting, waiting for a green Mercury to come collect you, a car driven by own mother and which was regularly the last or second-to-last to arrive. (Yes mom, I know, “better you should wait than I should wait.” With three kids, I might have done the same.)

I have vivid memories of all that waiting and the self consciousness and anxiety it stirred up in me. These memories have inspired me to try my best to never be late for Simon and make my pulse race when I get stuck in traffic and am afraid I will be late. Simon doesn’t know late.

But there he was, accusing me. “Simon, honey, I’m only four minutes late, and that’s because I didn’t know you were inside and went to the field first to pick you up. Anyway, it’s only four minutes, that’s hardly late.”

He was not impressed. “I feel like I’ve been here an hour.” “Honey,” I explained, “you have been here watching videos and waiting out the weather. Your pick-up time didn’t change.” Simon was still upset and not interested in backing down.

“Well, some of the other kids got picked up by their parents early. Why did those parents come and you didn’t?”

“Because obviously those kids have better parents than you do.”

Trust me when I tell you that my voice was dripping in sarcasm. I was ticked off, and Simon knew it. He even got a little teary. Which, honestly, I’m fine with.

My Aunt Marcia once told my mother that sometimes when kids ask ridiculous questions, you should give them ridiculous answers. I don’t often do that, but today seemed to call for it. I’m still going to do my best to be punctual, but I hope the next time I am delayed, Simon will remember today and ask and understand before rushing to judge and accuse.

¬†Edited to Add: I’m a worse mama than I realized. Kiddo isn’t just having a crabby, irritable, whiny day. Kiddo is sick with a fever. It’s been so long—well over a year—that I forgot that the first thing to check when all of Simon’s coping goes out the window is to see if he’s well.

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