All wrapped up
“Why are you late, Mom?”
“Well, hmmm, I really can’t say…and anyway, we’re not late yet. Technically we have one minute to get your brother to practice…”
It was 5:44 p.m. My middle son has basketball practice at a building within the same complex as the extended day program; my oldest has practice at the elementary school gym in the next town over. Both practices are at 6:00 p.m. My middle son’s coach is there 15 minutes early so it’s okay to drop my son off then. We really need the whole 15 minutes to get to my oldest’s practice; we have been on time once. Every week I think I am going to leave my office by 5:30, but that is rarely the case. On two out of three of the occasions that I did, I got held up at extended day for one reason or another.
“..so, let’s get a move on, boys!”
My older two hustled out to the car, but my youngest was not on board. He was upset that he hadn’t been able to finish a craft project. He knew we had basketball, though: he was the one who delivered my oldest’s change of clothes to him in the middle school room. As of 7:15 a.m., when we were gearing up for another week – making lunches, taking out trash, digging the favorite shirt out of the dryer – I had forgotten we had practice.
“C’mon, honey. We really don’t have time for this right now. Your brothers don’t want to be late.”
Rather than endure the wrath of his brothers, he complied.
So, why was I “late?” I decided that I would take inventory of all of the Christmas presents I had bought for my kids this morning during one of my conference calls. I put the phone on speaker (and muted it), hauled everything out from the various hiding places, and spread it all over my office/bedroom floor. Then I pulled out all the wrapping paper, tape, bows, ribbons, gift tags and boxes. Then I got overwhelmed. I spent most of the day walking around or stepping over little piles of gifts. At lunch time, I wrapped the kids’ gifts that they had chosen for each other. Mid-afternoon, I had my Santa gifts wrapped. When 5:00 came, I realized that I better at least organize everything else before I put it all back in my luggage, hanging next to my garment bags, in the eaves of the attic. I spent the next 25 minutes sorting the stocking stuffers, making sure I had the right number of Santa gifts for everyone else, and trying to balance out the items I was giving to my kids. I considered holding some of them back for upcoming birthdays, especially when I realized I had bought two of exactly the same Lego Hero Factory sets. Then I just tossed everything together in one bag. I’d have to defer that decision to another day. I had to be sure I hid all the wrapping paper, too – I wouldn’t want Santa paper to be found anywhere, not even the scraps that were in the trash.
By 5:25, I was ready to go pick up my kids and begin the Monday evening routine, but it took me more than five minutes to warm up the car (thankfully I had filled the tank earlier); organize the sneakers, basketballs, snacks, and drinks; back out of my driveway (which is close to an intersection); and get in line with several other vehicles trying to make a left turn on Main Street, which brought me to the point where my oldest asked me, “Why are you late, Mom?”
Perhaps I just sounded like absent-minded mom or like I was still wrapped up in work, but the truth was, I couldn’t say. I know that the mere mention of presents triggers a) 20 questions (“what did you get me,” “what did you spend,” “what did you get my brothers”), b) the temptation to snoop, c) the inquisition about whether or not Santa Claus is real.
Boy to the World!