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Third Notice

Dinner at my house is never quiet. As the kids clamor to share the details of their school days, my husband and I try to catch up on anything we may have overlooked in the craziness of our hectic schedules. Last evening, my oldest daughter was the first to remind me that I had indeed overlooked something. “Mom, do you remember that paper I brought home on Friday, the second notice?” I close my eyes and wrinkle up my nose. “Oh! I forgot,” I say, half exclamation, half moan. I had every intention of getting that paperwork together over the weekend. It’s just that… well… okay, I have no excuse. The school is requiring all students to re-register and prove residency. They want copies of the tax statements and utility bills that I have buried somewhere in a massive stack of paperwork yet to be filed. I honestly don’t remember ever seeing the first notice come home, but the second notice, in all of its bright yellow glory, was not to be missed. Yet somehow, I still managed to be delinquent. “Well,” says my daughter, her eyes smiling, “today I got a third notice! It's red!” A huge smile spreads across my face, and I burst into laughter. My daughter follows my lead, and the two of us fight to catch our breath over the hysterics induced by the third notice. “Okay, okay,” I say. “I promise I’ll get it together tonight. Otherwise, I’m afraid they’re going to come knocking on our door.” My daughter, still laughing, looks at me incredulously. “They will not,” she says. “But I wonder what color the fourth notice will be,” she teases. More hysterics. I assure her that there is not going to be a fourth notice. The third notice served its purpose and then some. It made me laugh, and a good laugh was all I needed to find it in myself to tackle that mountain of paperwork.

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