Last month I committed the ultimate mom blunder. I forgot to send my son’s class picture order form and money with him to school on class picture day. Not only did I forget to send the money and the all-important envelope, but I also forgot to dress him in anything decent. He was wearing a beat up white t-shirt with black bats on it, with teeth marks on the collar, where he takes his shirt into his mouth and bites on it while playing video games. The result of him biting on the collar is that the neck is stretched out and tattered and looks like it is permanently starched with saliva. The entire outfit looked kind of vampire-like with the bats, and worn out vampire-like at that.
He tells me this news as I pick him up from school in the afternoon. He greets me at the car with an accusatory, “Mom, you forgot the picture order form and money!” Wow, what else have I forgotten this week? My mind starts racing. “Am I supposed to send something to school for your Valentine’s party on Friday?” I ask him. “Well, other moms are sending cupcakes and cookies and drinks, but we probably have enough that you don’t need to send anything,” he answers. I think he is trying to cover for me.
“Are you getting Alzheimer’s?” he asks.
“No!” I answer back. “There is just too much in my brain right now”.
He is accustomed to the mom who always has the healthy snack packed in the backpack, all permission slips properly signed and returned on time, and definitely never forgets the picture form and money. How could this have happened? My seemingly controlled existence is crumbling. My brain is on overload and suddenly I am suspected of having Alzheimer’s. All I want to do is cry.
It occurs to me that I am no longer just a person. I am the supreme organizer and carrier of all important information for my family. The human encyclopedia of dates and times, the keeper of who needs to be where and when and what they need to take with them. If someone forgets their homework or their lunch or their shoes, it is somehow my fault that they have failed to have these items with them.
Most days I do pretty well in this role as supreme organizer. Other days, like this particular class picture day, I fail miserably in my duties. Some days I simply want to walk out of the house without taking care of any details for anyone and try to remember back to the day when I was not the master extraordinaire of all family stuff.
Today I opened my son’s backpack and the dreaded class picture was inside. I almost cringed as I opened the envelope, hoping to see him in the back row with his body blocked from view by the biggest kid in the class. No such luck. There he is in the front row with a big smile on his face, proudly standing front and center, with the ugly beat up bat shirt on. I look closer to examine it, and realize that you can’t even see the teeth marks on the collar. What you can see is his smile that is a mile wide. Maybe I didn’t fail after all.
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