I was hoping to enjoy a relaxing Sunday.
I planned to get my grocery shopping out of the way early and then go to Home Depot for potting soil and plants…for a little landscape therapy.
My mom had picked up the little ones and taken them with her for what was supposed to be a few hours. The older girls were off doing whatever it is 18 and 16 year olds do. I don’t even ask anymore. They never have money so I know they’re not prostituting. I assume they’re somewhere watching reality TV with their BFFs.
While pushing my cart down the chips aisle, I hear my name.
I turn to see my 18 year old, carrying a box of Goldfish crackers and a poster board.
“What are you doing here?” I ask.
She turned her nose up and made a squishy face. “Don’t be mad.”
When a teenager starts a conversation with the words don’t be mad, it’s not going to be good and you’re most likely going to be making a trip down the beer/wine aisle.
“I had a government project due Friday but I didn’t do it because I forgot so I just skipped that class and now I need to do it before tomorrow. Will you help me? Please, Mom?”
“You skipped school?”
“Yes, ma’am, but please don’t be mad. I mean, I didn’t get a zero on the project, aren’t you glad I can turn it in tomorrow for full credit?”
This is how teenagers work. They twist situations around to make themselves look like really smart decision makers. Skipping class is OK if you’re getting an A on Monday!
I let out a gigantic sigh and checked my watch. T-minus two hours and forty minutes before the younger kids would return home. If I hurried and helped her I might still have time to run to Home Depot.
“Fine. Come straight home right now and I’ll help you.”
After checking out and mumbling curse words under my breath (all directed at my oldest child), I loaded my car with groceries and pulled out of the Target parking lot.
My phone rang then. It was my 16 year old. “Mom, are you home?”
This is another tricky teenager phrase. You have to redirect the question before answering. Always find out what they want BEFORE telling them YES you are home, or NO you are not. This question is a loaded one. Trust me.
“I’m not home, what is it that you need?”
“Well, I need shoes to wear to Junior Unity Day* tomorrow and I don’t want to wear boring shoes since my dress is white. What do you think of coral shoes? Or purple shoes? Or…I don’t know. Can you go shoe shopping with me?”
Ooh, I have a legitimate out. Score one for me.
“Sorry honey, I told your sister I’d help her with a government project.”
What followed was what I like to call Academy Award Winning Dramatic Actress in the making. I had to pull the phone away from my ear for fear of damaging my ear drum. A person shouldn’t be exposed to such high-pitched noises.
Suddenly she stopped squealing and complaining (because another call was coming through) and asked me to hold. A second later she was back and had completely changed her whole personality. “Good news. Anna is going shoe shopping with me and then we’re going to see The Lucky One. Laters, Madre!” And then she hung up. Presumably, happy.
Don’t even try and understand what just happened.
The next hour and a half I spent Googling information on Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. You know, for the project. My daughter had to make a poster in the shape of California and research one senator and one representative. And then she had to list five interesting points of note or place of interest and draw them on the poster. Of course she looked to me for the answers. Five things. Five things. OK, this was easy. It’s California after all.
2. Ryan Seacrest
4. American Idol
5. The Beverly Hills Hotel
She looked at me kinda funny and said, “I don’t think four of those will work. But Hollywood is good!”
Fine. Napa Valley. San Diego Zoo. The Golden Gate Bridge. Disneyland. and Hollywood.
She went to work on the poster while I finished typing up information on the two politicians.
I looked at the clock again. 12:30. I grabbed my keys and headed for the door. If I hurried I could still run to Home Depot and salvage what was left of my Sunday afternoon before the little kids came home, demanding all of my attention.
I barely made it out of my neighborhood when my phone rang. It was my 16 year old’s boyfriend. “Are you home?”
There’s that question again.
“I’m not right now. What do you need?”
“Well I need to ask Riley to prom so I need in her room. I’m spelling out the word PROM in white rose petals on her bed.”
I told him I’d call him back and quickly rang my oldest daughter. “Hey, let Brett in the house. He needs…”
“Mom, MOM.” She interrupted. “I’m not home anymore. I’m going to a graduation meeting.”
I turned into the next parking lot and made a U-turn in the direction of home. Again.
Riley’s boyfriend showed up minutes later and went to work spelling out the word PROM on her bed. It was adorable the way he was so into it, making sure the letters were straight. When he was finished he took a picture of it and sent it to his mom. One second later she texted it to me.
I got him out the door about the time my mom pulled up with my kids. Any thoughts I had entertained about an afternoon involving things I wanted to do for myself flew out the window like rose petals in a dust storm.
You might ask yourself. “Why not just take the kids to Home Depot with you?”
And to that I say, “Why don’t YOU take my kids to Home Depot.” You know those kids who can find something they HAVE TO HAVE at any store you go to? Hi. Those are my kids. They can find something they’ve been “dying for” in a hospital gift shop. Or in a florist’s shop. Or at the shoe repair place. Or when I’m getting my oil changed. So no. Thank you, but no. There’s a reason both my 10 year old and 6 year old have their own My First Tool Kit. It’s because I made the mistake of taking them to Home Depot with me.
They barreled into the house carrying a bag of goodies that Nana bought them at Toys R Us.
So while they played with their loot I decided to sit on the sofa and switch to Plan B. Reading.
I was one chapter into Jenny Lawson’s book when Ethan came to me carrying a handful of Lego pieces and an instruction manual and said, “I can’t do this one. It’s too hard. Can you help me put it together?”
That’s when I decided once and for all to surrender my Sunday. It was obvious this day had nothing to do with me and everything to do with everyone else.
I put together a Ninja Lego set. That was actually pretty hard. Even for someone so well versed in the area of Lego building as me.
Afterwards, Harley handed me six pieces of felt, colored yarn, and a needle. “I’m trying to make an owl iPod holder but I can’t do it.”
So I sewed together a stupid felt owl iPod cover.
I sent the kids outside to ride their bikes so I could start dinner. One minute later Harley opened the door and ran through the house screaming, “Ethan’s hurt! Come quick!”
I rushed out front to find Ethan on the sidewalk, holding his feet.
“What happened, Buddy?”
Before he could answer Harley started talking. “He ran over his own feet. How does that even happen?”
Yes. How *does* a person run over his own feet while riding a bike?
Scraped and bleeding, I carried him in the house and doctored his injuries.
It was obvious at this point that the day was never going to end.
Finally, at 9:30 I crawled into bed. I had taken a Tylenol PM thirty minutes before so I was unsure if I’d be able to keep my eyes open long enough to watch Mad Men. Thank goodness for my DVR. As I was drifting off to sleep Riley came in my room carrying the dress she was going to wear the next morning and cried out, “Mom, I just ripped my dress. I don’t know what happened but can you fix it? Please? It won’t take you very long. I don’t think.”
I kicked back the covers and blew past her without saying anything and went to the laundry room to fetch my sewing kit. The thoughts going through my mind would make Howard Stern blush.
Sewing. AGAIN. At 9:30pm.
Some time later I was awakened by the sound of Ethan’s voice. But when I opened my eyes he looked less like my little boy and more like a goose wearing a burgundy terry cloth robe. The Tylenol PM had apparently kicked in and I was hallucinating. I rubbed my eyes in an effort to make the goose go away and that’s when I realized Ethan was having an asthma attack.
Long story short, I’ve been up with him since 11:30, sleeping on the sofa with him in between breathing treatments. So about two hours and twenty minutes, total.
At 6:30 this morning I willed myself off the couch and headed up to Harley’s room to get her up for school. I turned on the lamp and croaked out, “Rise and shine, little lady.”
Instead of her usual grumpy Monday morning self, she popped straight up and cried out, “Oh my gosh, Mommy! I forgot I’m supposed to take a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today. I’m gonna get in so much trouble.”
I got this.
“Just go back to sleep. I’ll go to that store that starts with a B and buy the book later this morning. You can go to school late.”
She looked at me funny, like maybe I’ve lost my mind. And maybe I have. I don’t even care anymore.
Moral of the story: There’s no M-E in M-O-M-M-Y, even though it’s pronounced Mom-Me. The world is a cruel place.
*Junior Unity Day is a day the school celebrates and recognizes juniors becoming seniors. It starts with a church service with the priest blessing each junior student. Then lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Then all the juniors going bowling. Mostly it’s a day off from school.