My biggest fear came true. I am beyond neurotic about being late; I have timers and reminders set and show up everywhere I go ten minutes early.
After an active day, I laid down in my bed for 20 minutes enjoying the quiet until I had to get ready for after school pick up. There was no way I was falling asleep, so I didn’t think I needed to set an alarm.
Next thing I knew I opened my eyes to see the clock read 3:15 the exact time that I should be parked and standing in front of the school to greet my boy as he exits the building as I am EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I booked it like nobody’s business, remembering little about how I got in my car and drove there except that I got EVERY SINGLE red light. No time to parallel park, I pulled my SUV into a half spot right in front of the school running away with the tail end of my car basically blocking traffic.
When I looked in the spot we meet every afternoon, my heart dropped when I saw it was empty. I ran walked to the office.
There he was sitting in the office and the clock read 3:28.
“Mom” he screamed, thrilled to see me (I could tell he was worried.) “Where were you?”
“I fell asleep” I replied honestly. “I’m sorry.”
After I had him safely, I was relieved that it worked out. At least I didn’t sleep for hours and pick him up when it was dark out, right? Eighteen minutes isn’t too bad and I always see other parents running in late. I for sure am not the first mom this has happened to, I rationalized.
Well, my son did not agree.
“Don’t you have things you are supposed to be doing while I’m at school?” My eight year old asks.
After I took the dagger out of my heart, I began justifying myself to my second grader.
“But, I’m there on time every other day?” I bargained.
I quieted him down temporarily with a special snack (bribe) as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
As soon as my husband opens the door, before he can put down his heavy computer bag or take off his shoes, “Dad, Mom fell asleep and forgot to pick me up from school.”
Luckily, my husband has little sympathy and claims to have been left for hours to wait for his parents many times as a child.
This topic was brought up again and again throughout the night and next morning. Each time the guilt inside me grew and grew, until I went to yoga and let it all go.
Guilt can really hurt. It can overtake our bodies and our minds and is too much for me to carry around. I know I did my best and my child was safe and isn’t damaged (I hope).
Now, I am going to have to start planning on getting everywhere 20 minutes early.
Have you ever been late to pick up your child?
P.S. Another parenting fail I told nobody about.
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- Check out my 2014 photo project How Quickly They Change.