Today started off badly before I even got out of bed—and proceeded ludicrously from there. In my jet-lagged state (my son and I flew back from the States a few days earlier), I think I have plenty of time for a shower before my husband and son wake up—that should have been my cue that all is not right with the world, as my husband always wakes up before me. After my relaxing shower, I’m convinced that we’ll all be off to a good start.
Walking into the kitchen with towel on, I suddenly scream. It’s already 8:35 a.m.! My son is still asleep and I recall that my husband happened to take two melatonin to sleep (he had flown back from the West Coast for work, so was even more jet-lagged than me), so was therefore comatose earlier, and is now stretching his arms like a satisfied cat. I was the only one to understand the dire situation we were in. I run to the washroom, grab my son’s school uniform from the dryer, and race to his room, screaming the entire time.
“Wake Up!” “Oh My God—we have ten minutes until violin class!”
When both my son and my husband just look at me with goggle eyes, I then scream, “NOW!”
Five minutes later, I am racing down our street, wet hair flying, with my son who is clutching his violin case. My right leg then starts to ache. I had vein surgery to remove three varicose veins a week ago and I recall the doctor saying I’m not supposed to run. My son is starting to cry, “I’m SO hungry mommy,” he pleads. I look at him: hair disheveled, teeth not clean, uniform wrinkled, and without a coat—in November, in London.
An image of my son’s violin teacher pops into my head. Today is the day that I am to accompany him to his private Suzuki class and take notes. Tomorrow they all go to the London Symphony Orchestra; he will be rather annoyed that we miss the class. Something in my leg tingles, so I stop.
And then, I look down at my soon-to-be six-year-old and sigh. Thinking about all the recriminating looks from administrators and teachers, I muster the strength to turn around and tell William it’s time to go back home.
“Yup, you need breakfast and I need coffee.”
“What about Guillione (violin teacher)?”
“I’ll write him a note,” I say.
My tone is calm for the first time in fifteen minutes and I take his hand as we walk slowly back to our building. I pass some neighbors whose school starts at the refreshing time of 9:15 a.m. and I jealously think of switching schools.
Back home, my husband is slowly getting dressed and I make some toast, a pot of coffee, and we all relax. So, perhaps I won’t win any awards for being the most conscientious mom, but at least I stopped myself from turning into Mommy Dearest.
Speaking of that, I’m currently taking a parenting course—for the first time, which I’m ashamed to admit. Each week is a good reminder that I often do things wrong. Today is the perfect example. Three weeks ago in my parenting class, we talked about how to get kids out the door in the morning without resorting to screaming or bribery. Tips include waking your child up earlier than usual and having clothes picked out and lying on the bed for the morning. We also talked about the importance of setting a good example and learning to be on time, etc.
Well, I may have blown it this time. But all I can think is that my son is in kindergarten and he has this intense pressure that I never had. I didn’t have to manage international jet-lag at least five times a year. I didn’t have to take two lessons of violin a week and practice every day (mandatory at his school)—my piano lessons began when I was eight or nine.
Is it just me, or are we all pressuring ourselves SO intensely that we’re more concerned with being on time and keeping up with all the demands thrust upon us instead of taking the time to assess whether these demands are merited and whether we have enough downtime to relax and talk with one another as a family?
So, my son has been late to school two days in a row after flying back from North Carolina to visit his grandmother at fall break. Most likely, I’ll have to write a letter to his teacher and to the headmistress too. But, in the scheme of things, in my book, it’s justified. My son had breakfast with daddy, whom he didn’t see for two weeks when back in the States, and who has to go on another business trip tonight. Having twenty more minutes with daddy is surely worth missing violin class for, isn’t it? Well, I may not write that, exactly, in my note to the headmistress.