I am driving like a maniac through suburbia..white knuckled and heart racing..sweat starting to develop on my forehead. Probably not the safest of driving especially with my four year old in the back seat but I am still focused at the task at hand. You would think I just got news of an emergent situation possibly and am racing to the Hospital? No this would just be the normal race against the clock to pick up one of my kids and not be that parent who is last and branded with the scarlet letter L and have to face the looks of the teachers and their smiles that it is okay once again but you know they are like how hard is it to get here. (do you really want to know how hard? Don't go there right now!)
Okay I have arrived and turn into the parking lot only to have my heart sink and that pit in my stomach return..the last few cars are pulling out as I fly into a spot and run to the door to find my 7 year old standing there as the last kid. He instantly starts in with the "Mom I have been standing here forever (should I mention I am 3 minutes late) and right now your Mom o' Meter is on empty!" The words hit my ears and I feel like I have been slapped in the face. I start my rant of how I went as fast I could and I am doing the best I can..and then I stop myself and think "what am I doing? I don't need to explain..he was safe and I was 3 minutes late!!" So I then tell him to add it to his future therapy bill and he looks at me confused, "Forget it..get in the car"
As I start to make my way through the parking lot there a few straggle Moms left standing next to there mini vans chatting with their lattes in hand..I smile and wave, but I really want to stop and be like really?? Do you always have to be on time! Can we all help each other out a bit..can there be a Mom code? But no they will continue to get there not only on time but ten minutes early with latte in hand and their I just love being a Mom smile, so when someone like me is only 3 minutes late it is a ghost town. So I smile and wave..just smile and wave.
I start to think will my kids remember all the good when they look back at their childhood, or will the moments of being the last kid at pickup stick with them instead? I do realize my fear is that they will remember those times just as I remember being left at the park by my mother when I was 4. I still remind her to this day ..that I watched as she drove away while I was on the swings and I was so scared and I started to walk. I remember clear as day being so scared and thinking she must be so scared also and when she finds me she will hug me so tight and feel so bad and promise to never leave me behind again! Boy was I wrong!! She pulled up in her car and rolled down the window and yelled at me to get in the car and I had to listen to her rant the whole way home that she had 4 kids to look after and I needed to keep up and it was my fault that I did not see her leaving and jump off the swings and run after her. I was shocked, no hugs were coming that day.
So on my way home that day I started to laugh out loud with the thought of my Mom o'Meter on empty and the memory of my own Mom becuase I now know where she was coming from that day. My kids asked me what I was laughing at and I said "Mom's need to laugh for no reason sometimes or we will lose our minds!" They look at each other confused and continue on with their kid chatter.
So this won't be the last time my meter will be on empty for sure!