In case you don’t know me personally, or very well, I’d like to preface the following sequence of events with a little background on Zohrhubby and my differing parenting styles.
My husband is a control freak in the passive sense of the term. He is not necessarily willing to perform the tasks that he deems necessarily done at the time, but he wants them done, and he intends to dictate the exact manner in which those tasks be completed. He is very conservative when it comes to child-rearing. He’s overly protective, and always has been. It’s been very difficult for him to give up even small feelings of control since our older kids have started becoming more and more autonomous. (And I use the word autonomous VERY loosely).
I’m like Chicken Little with a Superiority Complex. I intend to get all the things done. I will work myself ragged to accomplish this. Because of the Superiority Complex, I do not take direction or criticism well (at all) and I have little faith that any delegated responsibilities will get done right the first time, making the whole process of appointing, explaining and checking up on these duties a complete waste of time. I still give the kids things to do, but I save it for the things that I know they can do with little instruction, and those things that a bad job done doesn’t really impact anything very much.
As you are also aware by this time (and if not, keep up, please!) that on the nights that Zohrhubby is at work, my evenings during the school week are filled with things that must get done by a certain time, dinners to be cooked and eaten, homework that has to be completed, baths/showers, laundry, finding all the shoes and belts for the next morning, etc. etc. etc. I’m a total train wreck on these nights, because nothing ever goes as is planned. People do not come over, they do not call, they do not intervene during these times, because chaos is always just a moment away. (I know you think that I’m being overly-dramatic here, but trust me, I’m not…just ask my mother.)
Okay. Groundwork laid. Let’s move on.
Last night Zohrhubby was at work. Tween C had her first Jr. High Football game, which is played at the local high school stadium, and the game began at 6:00. Our plan seemed simple. She would call me at 7:00 from a friend’s phone, and tell me what quarter it was, etc., so that we could estimate the end time of the game. We planned to meet at the covered pick-up area, a little walk away from the stadium in the same parking lot, where the traffic wouldn’t be so bad, and she was to call me again when the scoreboard said “Quarter 4, 2:00 left in the game.” I only live about a mile or so from the school. Seemed fail-proof. Right? Right…
So, I get back home, start serving up dinner, and listen to the little ones talk about their day. Little B got a “Positive Behavior Citation” yesterday because he was caught being good. He was so proud. I knew he could do it. Little A had decided that she wanted to be a Firefighter when she grew up. Her first choice was Rock Star, but Little B had already pointed out to her that there are no girl Rock Stars. So, she’d settled on Firefighters. Plus, he said, she didn’t even have any Rock Star makeup. Little B, on the other hand, had settled on the following professions: Firefighter, like Little A, but he also was going to be a doctor, a builder, and a Treasure hunter. Because those were all cool jobs to have. I agreed. We finished dinner, and I noticed that 7 p.m. had come and gone, and I hadn’t yet got a phone call. At 7:20, though, she called from her friend’s phone. “Sorry, Mom, I forgot for a minute, but I just remembered.” She reported that they were only in the second quarter. There was some presentation in memorial of a coach who had passed away. “Well, C, you can’t stay past 8:30, so even if the game’s not over I will pick you up at that time, at the latest.” “Yeah, okay. Well, I’ll call you back when it’s the 4th quarter, and 2:00 are on the clock.”
I go back to my grind. Kids, bathed. Laundry, drying. I told Big E to go take a shower, so he could be finished by the time I had to leave the house to go get Tween C. Zohrhubby called while I was folding clothes to see how our evening was going.
“Fine. The kids just had their bath, E’s in the shower, and I’m doing laundry.”
“Oh, well, where’s C?”
“Uh. She’s at that football game.”
“What football game?”
“You know, the first Jr. High home game, I told you she was going.”
“Uh, no you didn’t. Who’d she go with?”
“She met some friends there, I didn’t tell you?”
“No. Are you sure that’s a good idea? When’s the game over?”
“It’s FINE. [I hate it when he questions my parenting skills…] And I don’t know when the game’s over, but she’s not staying past 8:30.”
I went to my bedroom to change clothes, and put on my comfy pants (which have no pockets). I took my cell phone out of my pocket, and set it on the dresser. I went back to the laundry room to finish up the clothes, then tucked Little A into bed. I realized when walking toward Little B to get him squared away that I didn’t have my cell phone on me. I panicked a little. I wasn’t even sure what time it was. I found my cell in the bedroom, and when I picked it up my heart sank. 8:22. 6 missed calls. 2 voicemails. Oh. My. God.
I tried to listen to the voicemails, but the damn thing was taking too long to load, so I hit re-dial for her friends’s phone and after a few seconds she answered, but it was awfully quiet in the background. “C’s Friend?” “Yeah…who is this?” “This is Caitlyn’s mom. Is the game over?” “OH, yes ma’am. She tried to call you but she couldn’t get you.”
I took off toward the school at breakneck speed. I was cursing myself the entire way there. When I entered the parking lot, there were only a couple of cars toward the entrance of the stadium, and the only light was over the covered parking area where I’d told Tween C I’d meet her. And there she was, pacing a little and holding herself, obviously crying. She got in the car, and was so shaken that she lost a shoe trying to get in. I hugged her and cried along with her. “Oh my God, C, I’m SO sorry!” “Mom, I tried to call you like 6 times!” She was a mess. “I know, baby, I’m so sorry, I put my phone down in the bedroom and I thought that it would be later than this when the game ended. You said that it was only the 2nd quarter at 7:20.” “I know, but the score board must have been broken, because it stayed Quarter 2 for the entire rest of the game.”
I apologized the entire way home. When we got home, I fixed her a plate of supper, and sat with her while she ate it. She told me all about the game, and started to calm down a little. When she was done, she kissed me goodnight, told me that she forgave me, and then walked to her room. She came back a few seconds later and said:
“Oh my God, Dad’s gonna kill you!”
She’s right. He’ll be furious. I’m not telling him. If she tells him, then I’ll hear it, but I’m not gonna voluntarily listen to it. He can’t make me feel any worse than I already do. I feel like a total shit head. I still do. I could hardly sleep last night. Which made me hit the snooze button an extra time this morning, which made Big E miss the bus, and then a street connecting my neighborhood to his school was closed unexpectedly, and I had to back track and go down a much too-traveled road to a congested intersection, making Big E late for school.
And so, there it is. I am constantly in amazement that God chose to entrust me with the care of four living human beings. What was He thinking?!
Go ahead and contact the authorities. Someone needs to come and get these kids before I screw them up any further. Be sure to mention that no one child is any safer than the other three. So they can’t just come and get one, or a couple– if they come, they are taking them all. And I’m going to Topeka.