Do you ever just feel like you’re winning at life?
Readers, I have to break it down for you tonight because I am a mom. For those of you who are moms, can I just get an AMEN? I know I don’t even have to write any further… you already get me. But just for fun…
I am a mom whose oldest child is a Kindergartener.
So for one, everything has changed. Up until this point, I have had three crazy kids, but at least those three crazy kids have been beating to the same drum. The same schedule drum, the same activities drum, the same mom-knows-what-the-heck-you-did-all-day drum.
No more! That is over.
And on top of the fact that everything has now changed, someone has posted all of these changes in a place… that I can’t find. All of the things that I should expect, and know, and all the the rules of having a kid in school… that section of my parenting guide was ripped out. It’s gone. And I- the woman who likes to be in control- am feeling just a little bit lost in the shuffle. AND, to make matters worse, there seems to be this kind of black market for information that is transferred between all the parents who grew up in this area, which of course is not me. I am not privy to the insider information. I am officially out of all the loops.
“Oh, yes, school drop off and pick up takes about 3947 minutes… you didn’t realize that?”
“Oh I’m sorry yes, kids can’t bring their lunch to school… did no one tell you?” (wait… WHAT?)
“You definitely can NOT make cookies for your kids birthday, you have to buy them from the store… yea, that’s the way it’s always been.” (….)
But seriously, is there a parenting guide that I didn’t get a copy of? I’ve always felt like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing trying to raise humans, but now that I have one in school, it’s like everyone else is in the know and I’m the only one to have ever had their oldest be the first one of their kids to go to school.
So back in October, Thomas signed me up to go on Cay’s first field trip. He filled out the paperwork and sent it in, and paid for me, and all the things… however he failed to gather any actual information about what he had signed me up for.
It’s no matter. I was excited to be able to participate. And as it would go, we were able to make it so Thomas and my boys would be able to go as well, if they drove separately.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I was in school and when we had a field trip and when my mom would volunteer to chaperone, she would ride the bus to the field trip with us kids. Naturally, that’s what I expected to do as a volunteer and so when Cay would ask me if I was going to be on the bus with her, my answer was yes.
“Oh no, parents aren’t allowed to ride the kid’s buses. You’ll have to follow behind.”
I got this memo when my suddenly more mouthy six year old asked me why I thought I’d be able to ride the bus?
“Only kids get to ride the bus!” She sassed.
I didn’t think it was the time or place to explain that I didn’t even want to ride the bus (so there!) and so I just said I must have been misinformed (or the only one NOT informed).
On the day of the field trip, I started to panic a little. I wanted to be awesome at mom-ing, and I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to be doing as a volunteer. I always envisioned myself as being a great mom- confident, all knowing, calm, cool. And here I was, completely insecure and out of my element. If I couldn’t ride the bus with the kids, then I guessed that my job pretty much started when we got to the pumpkin patch. Thomas and the boys and I dropped Cadence off, and I actually jumped out with her and ran up to the principal to ask, “where do we go for the Kindergarten field trip?” and he said “she” should head right in there to check in with her teacher.
Okay! That sounds pretty straight forward. SHE should go in, and I should wait out here for the bus! Sounds good! All morning I had been asking Thomas if he remembered ANY details about what he had signed me up to do, and of course he was not even worried at all and suggested I just go into the office and ask!
So here’s the deal… men don’t like to ask for directions, right? Well, moms don’t like to ask people questions they’re supposed to already know the answers to. I didn’t want people to think I was an idiot. I mean, who signs up for a kid’s field trip without even knowing what the heck they’re supposed to be doing?
All that to say, as I was sitting in the truck with Thomas and the boys, waiting for the kids to load onto the buses, I see several parents come out with the Kindergarten class with name tags on, looking incredibly helpful and very volunteerish.
Son of a!
How was I supposed to know that I was supposed to go IN? The principal said “SHE” should go in, not “YOU GUYS” or “Y’all” as they would have said it, let’s be honest. So now I’m basically sweating because my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher, whom I have never met because I am probably the ONLY mom who wasn’t at the first day of Kindergarten because I was helping my sister have her baby across the country, probably thinks I’m the worst mom ever.
I shot Mrs. Sandi a text and apologized and tried to explain… I’m not even sure what I tried to tell her… but I do remember telling her that I’m not usually such an amateur at life (or something like that) and she very politely said that everything was fine and she’d see me at the pumpkin patch.
Well, I wish I could say that the pumpkin patch was amazing and I completely redeemed myself. But the truth of the matter is, Cadence was the only kid in all of Kindergarten who had TWO parents on her field trip, and she’s the only kid who we lost. Yes, we lost her.
When it was time to get on the hay ride- the only thing all day the teacher stressed was time specific- Cadence was no where to be found. I had the boys and I thought Thomas had Cadence. Thomas had no one and thought I had Cadence. Needless to say, my daughter’s best friend’s hero father (one of those magical creatures who somehow knew that he was supposed to go IN the classroom before the field trip, even though he was a first time Kindergarten parent as well) found my daughter and saved the day.
As I was frantically looking for her all over the play area of the pumpkin patch- which was enormous mind you- I saw Mrs. Sandi see my husband kidless, and then looked over at me, with a boy in one hand and a boy on my hip, and I’m not going to lie, I avoided her eyes.
NO, I did NOT know where my daughter was! I didn’t know, okay?! I was blowing it and ruining pumpkins for ALL of Kindergarten!
Readers, nobody panic, we found her (well, Kinley’s dad found her) and we made it on the hay ride in time. But wouldn’t you know it, I found myself seated right next to Mrs. Sandi on the hay ride. And I was the most awkward person ever. She was so sweet to me and she asked in her southern accent how we were liking it out here, and I stumbled through an answer because I couldn’t even think about anything other than how much she MUST have been judging me. I just couldn’t even make eye contact.
Now that I know her better, and have (kind of) redeemed myself in other ways over the last few months, I know she wasn’t judging me at all. She probably pitied me. I was trying so hard to be awesome, and I was just flopping around like a fish out of water.
I left the pumpkin patch that day with a few pumpkins, a sunburn (because I couldn’t even remember the sunscreen?) and a bruised mom ego.
Fast forward to not having a freaking clue about truancy.
So, given the fact that I, myself, am the last person that I know well to have gone to Kindergarten, I have to base all of what I know as a mom of a Kindergartener on my personal experience. Well, in my day, yes, there was such a thing as a truancy officer. I never saw him. I never knew anyone who had ever met him. And I actually thought he was more of an exaggeration, like when my mom would tell me that people in prison only eat bread and water (that is a lie- they have cable for crying out loud). So to me, the truancy officer was like no cable in prison- a myth.
Well, here in Tennessee, if you miss 5 days of school that are unexcused, you’re truant. Do you know how I know?
Let’s back up for a second…
My daughter is a puker. She pukes! What can I say? Every time she has post-nasal drip, she pukes. It’s like her thing. I know this about her, and I know she’s fine, and will be fine, and so we don’t go to the doctor and she stays home from school and it’s no big deal!
The first time she stayed home, I called the school and they said that I did not have to let them know if she was sick, I just had to write a note. Well she ended up missing two days, I wrote one note, this is not the way it works.
Didn’t you know that you’re supposed to write two notes???
Well, so pop us down for one unexcused absence.
Then in October, she and her brothers went to California and visited our family for a week. We told the school ahead of time. We asked if we could bring any school work. No, we could not. We were told it would likely be unexcused, but it’s not a big deal.
Well okay then! Mark us down for 5 more unexcused absences!
The day before she was supposed to be out for Thanksgiving break- that Tuesday before- I was debating taking her out of school because our dear friends had traveled from across the country to be with us for the week and our daughters are BFFs. I didn’t want Cay to miss out on the limited time they had together. But I was doubting myself as a mom as to whether or not that was the right decision. Should I take her out of school and say she’s sick when she’s not sick?
Lucky for me, and quite unlucky for Tom, Cay threw up all over Tom Monday night while I was out having a girls night in Nashville. So yes, that was pretty terrible and I was pretty sure I brought it on her with the white lie I was planning to have to tell, but thanks to the puker, I was able to say with a straight face to the TRUANCY OFFICER the next day at my DOORSTEP that my daughter was, in fact, sick!
Yes, you read that right. In front of my two dearest friends, who let me leave Nevada as a perfectly suitable mother, got to witness my husband and I talking to the police and the Vice Principal of my daughters school, in my pajamas, on my front porch.
And the award for Mom of the Year goes to…
So this past Saturday, Cay comes down with a fever again. I’m thinking “what in the actual F is going on here?” I wish I could say that my first concern was my daughter’s health, but all I was thinking about was Child Protective Services. I was thanking Jesus that it was a Saturday and I had a shot of getting this child healed before Monday came around because I just didn’t have that many more parent notes that I could use!
P.s. I’m still not sure how many parent notes I can use, or how to use them. So yes, that added to the stress.
Sunday night, Cay still had a slight fever, and I was torn people. Do I send my slightly sick kid to school and get other kids sick- or worse, run the risk of having my kid be the puke at school kid- or do I keep her out of school and get arrested for child endangerment?
Monday morning comes. Cay says she feels okay. She goes to school. THANK GOD!
I’m thinking we’re doing good. Things are going well. We might just pull this whole parenting thing off and get out for Christmas break without anymore incidences! But no! Come Monday morning, Gage (my 2 year old, and youngest) comes down with a fever- which just adds to the fun of being a mom- but also leaves me with another lose/lose situation…
Cay has her freaking Christmas pageant Monday night. So I’ve got an impossible choice: 1) Don’t go and be THAT mom or 2) take my sick 2 year old to the Christmas show…
You better believe I took my sick kid to that Christmas pageant because I was so committed to not being THAT mom that I became THAT MOM!!!
Readers, despite this blog post, you have to know that I am a good mom. My husband believes I am. My kids believe I am. Even Mrs. Sandi believes I am. I don’t know if other moms believe I am, but sometimes I forget that other moms don’t sleep in my bed, and live in my life. Other moms shouldn’t be a part of my parenting decision making.
Can I get an AMEN!?
And here is the silly part, I’m the only one putting other moms in my head!!!! I’m the one judging me. It’s me! It’s my own fault! I’m building up this whole stupid thing, and it’s based in zero facts, comments, even side glances. NO OTHER MOMS HAVE SAID A WORD! If anything, I’m blessed to have been surrounded by amazing moms who lift me up, and hear me, and champion me because not ONE of us know what the heck we’re doing. So I don’t even know why this became such a huge thing in my head, but all I can say is there is a reason ego and pride are sins.
Needless to say, because I’m an idiot, all THREE of my kids had 102 or higher fevers by the end of the night last night, and to make matters worse, Merit (my middle son who is 4) threw up for the first time in his little life, all over the waiting room of the doctor’s office today.
I mean, I can’t even make this up.
The sweet receptionist came out with the mop and said, “It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.”
I had to laugh…
I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I get caught up in the wrong things. I believe they call this human…
And I know that it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.
So this blog post is for all those moms who are just trying to adult. We’re just trying to get through. We’re just fighting the good fight, trying to raise up some decent humans, are we not? We’re just over here, doing our thing, mom-ing so hard, that we don’t need to add any extra stress to anyone else’s puke-in-the-waiting-room moment, ya know? Because at one point or another, we all puke in the waiting room.
That’s just life.
And tonight, as all my fevered kids are sleeping (at least for the moment- say a prayer for me), I just wanted to remind you that you’re awesome, and you’re doing your best, and you’re killing it at being a grown up.
Oh, and fear not (she says to herself)… I have a doctor’s note for when she goes back to school!