Listen up, mamas. You need to hear this one. As seasons in this raising kids gig go, the end of school is, shall we say, INTENSE. I prefer the term BRUTAL, but I am working hard on pretending a positive spin versus diving full-on into drowning status. I have thought long and hard about the best way to power through the full-on flurry and decided that my best plan of attack is to set up a tent on the school lawn for the last weeks of the year. That way, whenever my presence is required, I can just roll out of my sleeping bag and be at the ready. Sure I might smell a teensy and edge on the horridly rumpled side of bedhead hair, but when you figure in the savings on time and gas, this game plan is nothing but a win! Yet before I pop off the grid, I need to make sure you understand something, something very important: you can’t win them all.
You see, a few weeks ago, my daughter got off the bus without pants on.
I’m going to let that one sink in for a minute. When you are ready, rejoin me…
After I was able to scrape my jaw off the road and flusteredly bustle our circus show home, I called my husband, “I didn’t even understand this was an option.” He asked what I meant, and I explained, “As in, with all the things I might fail at with our kids, I didn’t know our children shedding their pants at some point during the school day was within the realm of possibility.”
As it turned out, the cause was an unfortunate combination of spilled spaghetti sauce at lunch, a less-than updated extra clothing bag, and a teacher’s mistaking of my daughter’s shortie pants intended for under-skirt modesty as actual shorts. In any case, MY DAUGHTER EXITED THE SCHOOL BUS WITHOUT PANTS ON.
As parenting moments go, it was among the most precious. As laughs go, it was pretty darn funny. As contributions to the thinly tethered sense of maintaining control I was grasping, it was most significant. It was significant as it was in company with the zillions of other ridiculous and fully unplanned events that have transpired in the eight years since birthing my first child. The insanity which, without fail, always kicks up in speed and intensity as the end of the school year nears.
I lay in bed that night, considering all the events of my day. I considered the huge grocery store trip I’d aced like a boss. My son’s birthday party I proactively planned within an inch of its life. The card I had sent to my friend who lost her dad. The soap I remembered to refill in the bathroom. Let’s be honest–my ego was soaring at this point.
Then I thought of the dinner I had almost made, but then bailed on because ordering pizza was far easier. The dog poop I cleaned up as I hadn’t gotten our new pooch out in time. The stash of coupons at the bottom of my purse I forgot to give to the grocery clerk in my haste to make it back in time to pay the pool liner guy. The teacher gifts I hastily ordered from Amazon because I was feeling very premenstrual grouchy and uninspired. So, I was feeling less incredible at this point.
Then I thought of my daughter prancing pantless off the bus…and I laughed. A lot. Good thing my husband sleeps like a brick lest he would have counted me for the loony bin.
The thing is, mama, this life is full of wins, but it’s also full of fails. Many, many of them to be exact. Our best hope is to make the most of the best, the least of the bad and grace for the difference. How tremendous this life might be if we were perfect! Or maybe it wouldn’t be? Truth is, we’ll never know, as we’ll never get to perfect, friends. Where we will get? Tomorrow. And we’ll get there full of our mistakes, our fallacies, and our forgotten coupons. Our absent pants, if you will.
You can’t win them all, mamas. So celebrate your aces like a beast, and please, please forgive yourself for all the rest. You are human, you are lovely, and for the record, this end of school business is flat-out insane. You most solidly, definitely, earn infinite points simply for attempting to participate and keep track of the schedule. MAJOR bonus points for any teacher gifts that actually make it into a gift bag of any sort.
In the midst of it all? I’ll see you by my tent on the school lawn. The lot is prime location and I’d love a friend to join me.
First image credit: depositphotos.com, Image ID:21562943, Copyright:Ariwasabi
Second image credit: depositphotos.com, Image ID:98927078, Copyright:Lopolo
Third image credit: depositophotos.com, Image ID:19961341, Copyright:markin
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