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May 10, 2016

Mother's day lesson: timing is everything

Saturday, May 7th was one of those days.  I awoke with an abundance of hope that I could accomplish most of the priorities on my never ending to do list.  The night before I voluntarily scratched my favorite early morning weekend workout from my list.  Part of me felt I had surrendered before the day had even begun.  While I typically ignore over-scheduling road blocks and attempt to squeeze everything in despite the clock, I recognized that time would not be on my side.

Laddie had conference water polo games about 25 minutes from home.  The first game on Saturday started before 9 am.  His next game would be played around lunch.  Coach and I both planned to attend.  I couldn't pawn two kids off on other people empty handed.  Opting not to burn any bridges, I knew I would wake early to prepare a lunch for each of them to bring to their respective hosts.  Extra homemade cookies to share couldn't hurt.  Reggie had to be suited up in his baseball uniform by 8 am and Curly had to be dressed and fed for a 7:30 am pick up time by Nana.  I was convinced that none of this would happen if I was working out from 7-8 am. 

While Reggie avoided a lengthy day of water polo thanks to the legitimate conflict of his game, Curly's emotional plea as she sulked off to bed Friday night inspired me to organize a more desirable day for her.  After a few calls to my mom and my sister, I successfully secured a place for Laddie's great-but-exhausted fan to spend the day free from water polo whistles, bad calls, uncomfortable  bleachers, and exciting shots.  Meanwhile, Coach had delivered Eddie and Tetanka to the golf course before 6 am to caddy, and Mini was out of town at an Irish music competition.

Originally I planned to attend the out of state competition with Mini.  As the date grew close and I considered missing Laddie's senior year conference games, my stomach flipped and my mouth went dry.  I hated to disappoint Mini, but I couldn't bear to miss Laddie's final games before graduation.  I had made an extra effort to cheer for the team all season missing very few games.  This was no time to skip the most important contests of the year.  This group had broken school records by dominating teams on the schedule that their school had never come close to beating in the past.  They were making history.  Mini understood my dilemma and assured me that she wouldn't mind traveling to Ohio with my brother and his family, who were also attending the competition. 

At 10 om Friday night moments after I agreed not to force the workout into the crammed morning, I decided a grocery store run seemed to make sense.  My adrenaline rush after watching Laddie's team beat our cross town rival for the second time that season expired as I lugged the bags of food inside from my car.  I hoped these essentials would last longer than last week's purchases had.  Before collapsing into bed I regrouped by charging the video camera and jotting down all of the things I needed to do before we departed the house a little after 8 am the next morning.  My adult godson, who played water polo professionally in Italy, hoped to make it to the morning game.  Since it happened to be his birthday, I left notes on the counter to remember to bring his gift to the game along with food for Coach and I.  Optimistic to a fault about how much I could squeeze into a day, I added to afternoon haircuts for my boys to my Saturday post-water-polo-game to-do list.  A plan to mess around with a file on the computer that I had been struggling to burn to a DVD was scribbled on the page beneath the haircuts.  What was wrong with envisioning a productive day after an exciting water polo conference tournament? 

Saturday's games ran late and ended in disappointment.  Coach and I vented about the biased refs as we drove home.  How unfortunate that our boys weren't allowed to play the game because the refs limited them at every turn.  Their uneven calls were blatant and senseless.  I tried to let it go as I reached out to my sister and Reggie's baseball coach to let them know we could claim our youngest kids shortly.  At home, I whipped up a hearty snack, listened to the caddys' stories, and decided I could no longer fight off my exhaustion.  I shuffled off to bed for a quick nap. 

Apparently all my cheering wore me out.  A few hours later a groggy do-it-yourself hair dresser  surfaced and delivered buzz cuts to the males of the family.  It was time to get dressed for church.  While I couldn't wait to peel off my sweats matted in hair, I opted to take a stab at Laddie's game stored on the computer.  It was his best game of the season, and Coach had missed it because he was at work.  I kept trying unsuccessfully to burn it to a DVD so that we could play it back on the TV.  Taking a new approach, I clicked 'burn' before racing off to change my clothes. 

Coach feared that I would run late for church (not sure where he got that idea) so he decided to drive in a car separate ahead of me.  A few minutes after he left, I ran down the stairs and called out to the remaining bodies to jump in the minivan.  Fifteen minutes later I sat in the pew and began to count - between prayers.  In my head I reviewed everyone's location.  Mini was due home from Ohio the next day.  Laddie was at the movies with his teammates.  Something was off.  I glanced down at the kids sitting to my right and those sitting on the other side of Coach to  my left.  My headcount wasn't adding up.  I leaned over and asked Coach, 'Where's Curly?'  He shrugged.  'She didn't come with me,' he reported.  I grabbed my keys and headed for the parking lot.

The church is walking distance to our house, so after I screeched out of my parking space it took me less than a minute to reach home.  Just before I pulled into our driveway, I spotted Curly.  Her red, puffy face was streaked with tears.  She was making her way towards our neighbors house to ask for help finding her mom.  I felt awful.  She described in a horse voice how she had stood in the kitchen screaming for me.  She tried my cell, which was silenced.  She called my folks, who were at mass too.  She considered walking to church, but thought she might get in trouble.  It turns out she had been playing outside when she realized we had all left.  She accessed the inside of the house because she knows the garage door code. 

After several hugs and a quick splash of cold water on her face, she and I marched into church.  Our seats towards the front of the congregation gave fellow church goes a good view of our family mishap.  It just so happened to be the night before Mother's Day.  Perhaps this mom needs to be sure to make time to account for each of the kids before racing out the door. 

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