Like other tired parents across the United States, I am sitting in my minivan waiting to pick up one of my seventeen children from yet another activity (okay, I really only have two, but reality shows indicate that the American public is interested in litters so I figured this was a good way to capture your interest). This time it is Taekwondo. I dropped my son off at Taekwondo at 6:15, drove my daughter across town for her piano lesson which ended at 7:30, and then scooted back across town to pick my son up from Taekwondo at 8 (are you tired yet?). I drive like no mother in a minivan should. I have a potential career in the Nascar circuit should my current day job in the fascinating, cubicle-rich world of IT fail me.
So, back to the parking lot where my daughter and I now sit and wait since I miraculously arrived ten minutes early. Since ten minutes without an electronic device is akin to waterboarding for today’s children, I hand over my Blackberry to my daughter who proceeds to play BrickBreaker. I have never made it past round one in this game because I forget what buttons move the brick-thingy and, by the time I figure it out, I have the sad “game over” sign. But, I digress. Me, sitting in car idly going through radio channels hoping to hear a song I recognize (i.e., recorded before 1993). Daughter, silently and furiously playing BrickBreaker. Me, suddenly realizing that we left my daughter’s piano books at the store and will have to drive back to get them. Daughter, suddenly realizing she has to “pee real bad.”
Looking at the clock on my dashboard, I see that we have five minutes before my son has completed his lesson. Enough time, I judge, to take my daughter inside the Taekwondo dojang (yeah, I know my terms) so that she can use their restroom. “NO WAY!” she shouts at me. “That bathroom is GROSS! I want to go home!” I inform her that in most states abandoning her brother in a martial arts studio has legal repercussions so we must wait for him to finish and then we can go home. She must “hold it” and do the pee wiggle in her seat until we can go home. “It’s not FAIR!” Time-honored phrase number one has been rolled out. I am fairly certain the phrase can be found in ancient papyrus scrolls somewhere.
As I turn around to patiently explain the concept of fairness to my daughter (“Knock it off! We’ll be home in ten minutes!”), I notice an orange blob on the floor mat in front of her seat. I am distracted enough by this item that I stop in mid-patient-explanation to ask her what that extremely nasty looking item is. “I don’t know,” she shrugs. Time-honored phrase number two has now been issued. I am guessing it is (a) candy; (b) silly putty; or (c) one of those sticky jelly hand thingies that some degenerate created as “treats” to be given out at the dentist’s office. I get out and try to clean the gunk off with one of the paper napkins from any number of fast food places that have found a home in my car.
Okay, time to get the boy. Daughter is still sitting with her hands crossed and giving me the evil eye. Son gets into the car and smacks his sister on her head because … she has a head. Loud screaming ensues as I back out of my spot, nearly taking down a smartly dressed woman in heels carrying expensive clothing on hangers from the dry cleaners. “Serves her right,” I mutter. “Stop looking at me! I have to pee!” “I’m not looking at you, doof!” “Mom, make him stop!”
I sigh as the light turns red, and I recall the words of old, “It’s not FAIR!”