We all have them, you know -- the crazy mom moments. So, if you're a mother, don't act like they don't happen to you. I'm not proud of them, but they happen.
Now I catch myself trapped in hindsight, head bowed in shame. Blog confession might temper the guilt. Or maybe I'll just be wracked with the memory and never get relief.
It all started the morning I looked at the calendar and decided none of it made any sense. Three children in three different places at the same time (you know how this goes). But, with carpools, I could manage. And one would be late for a game, which coach said was OK.
Then one of my daughters gets a text and decides that she wants to skip practice and go to a friend's birthday party, a friend who has just been released from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. How could I say no? "Sure, you can miss practice. I'll let the coach and the people I carpool with know."
That change happened with ease.
Then my husband chimed in. "Oh, I forgot to tell you that I have to go to a dinner tonight."
In the mind of the mommy master, he is not eating dinner out. He is picking up one daughter from practice and, now, making sure the other one gets home from the birthday party.
"Oh no. Well, that stinks. I'll have to figure something out." My first reaction was forgiving. My second, not so much. After stewing a bit about untangling the mess, I said, "It would have been nice to know this before this morning!" Then I murmured the words "selfish" and "narcissistic" and dropped it because what's the point?
Off to work and then home to pick up the daughter going to the birthday party. She gets in the car, "Mom, can we go to Big Y to buy Elinor an ice cream cake?" Again, appendectomy.
"Sure, I don't see why not, but I still don't know how you'll get home tonight. I won't be home until 8:00."
"Don't worry. I'll get a ride from someone," she says.
We go to Big Y for the cake. I manage to produce some kind of dinner. I drop one daughter at her friend's and then go get the youngest for her lax game in Somers. Of course, she's late in getting out of her choir practice because the concert is in less than a week, so we start the journey to Somers, already short on time, twenty minutes late. She changes in the car and eats her Subway. A dish is clinking in the back.
"Oh, Josie left her chili bowl in here from last night," she says.
GROSS! We're eating our dinners in the car! This is what I hate about lax season!
I look ahead, cars lined up for an eternity, crawling down the street. Ahhh...rush hour.
I watch the car clock like I do a horserace had I bet my entire year's salary. Thirty minutes until game start and we're 45 minutes away. I had scribbled directions on a paper and suddenly noticed they lacked the detail I intended to add with a Mapquest search. All I have now are the basic directions from a coach's email. Hmmm... that should be OK. I-91 to 190. A right turn on South Road. Simple enough.
We chat a little. How was your day? I watch the clock. I breathe deeply. That doesn't really help because Cigna traffic has amassed. Ten minutes have passed and I haven't left West Hartford. Breathing deeply only makes me cough.
Finally, I jump on I-91 with only three near miss accidents, none of them my fault, of course.
"We've got fifteen minutes until the game starts!" I look back and Frankie is slumped in the backseat. I look down and see a cooler filled with cut watermelon and oranges. Even though I was assigned oranges, I loaded up on watermelon, too. Never hurts to go the extra mile. The soft cooler bulges. I imagine the fruit getting soggy in the plastic bags with the sun beating through the window. For some reason, I hit the gas.
Finally, exit 47E. Phew. Five minutes until the game starts. "Frankie, you might make it!" I pull off the exit and take a right onto 190, just as my instructions tell me to do. The traffic is worse here. I creep along the road. Clock reads Game Time. I try to maneuver through traffic. We move a little. I curse under my breath. Patient daughter sits in the backseat without saying a word. Her biggest fear is that Mom will have an accident. She assumes I will.
"It's no big deal if I don't get there, Mom. Coach Ann already knows I'll be late."
"Yeah, yeah," I say as I swerve into another lane.
The fruit is disintegrating. Oh no! What if we don't make the game? I paid $20 for fruit that's going to go bad. Now I am obsessing on the fruit.
My directions say that I'll be on 190 for several miles before South Road. I have lost track of mileage only knowing that I've been in traffic for a long time. As I approach a light, I see "South Road" to my right. "We're here!" I yell.
I take a right and expect to see the field right there. That's what it says on the directions. Take a right and the field is right there. I look. No field. "Frankie, do you see a field anywhere?"
"No, Mom." By now, she is in a trance after an already long day.
I cruise down South Road where all I see is grass. Some small houses. Maybe if I go a little further. Nope. Just a funeral home to the left. No field. Wait a minute. There's a field. "No, Mom, those are baseball players." By now, the clock is ticking away. The game has started. I panic and call a friend. He tells me to get to an intersection and he'll figure out where I am.
I sit at the corner of Beech and South, waiting for direction. His computer is rebooting. We make small talk. After ten minutes of confusion, he apologizes and says, "I have to go to a concert."
Great. I pull back onto South and stop on the side of the road to catch pedestrians. "Hey, do you know where Firehouse Field is?" I yell at two high-schoolers wearing Fermi shirts (HELLO!). They look at each other and scratch their heads. Desperate, I pull into the funeral home parking lot and ask mourners if they had any idea where Firehouse Field was. "No, we're from Vermont." Dressed in black, they apologize. Head bowed in shame, I realize what I just did. This is a low point in my life's career.
"I'm really sorry for your loss," I said, embarrassed and humiliated that I would do something so embarrassing and humiliating. Did that knock sense into me? Did that stop me from barreling out of the parking lot? No. I am fixated on getting to this game. I call my middle daughter whose gotten a ride home from her dad who picked her up before his dinner. :) She can't figure out the lax website and suggested I go to a gas station.
I finally find one. Of course, the barely English-speaking man had NO IDEA where Firehouse Field was. I walked out and proclaimed, "I am going to kill myself! I am going to kill myself right out here in front of your gas station!" I'm sure he wasn't clear as to whether he should laugh or call 911.
Then I accost a woman getting into her car at the gas station. "Please help me," I say as I tap on her window. She opens the window. "I can't find Firehouse Field."
"Firehouse Field?" I have no idea where that might be." I sigh with exasperation with no higher self in existence. Who does this? Who carries on about getting to a lax game? Apparently, I do. Feeling defeated, I walk back to my car prepared to drive home with a cooler full of cut fruit and a very disappointed little girl. The woman calls out, "Hey, what town is it in?"
I turn around. "Somers," I say, as if obvious. "Aren't we in Somers?"
"No, this is Enfield. Somers is about 2 miles further down." She points east.
What an arse I am.
We got there right before half-time. Frankie played most of the second half. The girls got their lax behinds kicked real bad, but they enjoyed every succulent slice of watermelon and wedge of orange.
I think I should invest in a GPS.
Fermi, by the way, is the high school in Enfield. Duh.