I got lost taking the kids to daycare the other day. Seriously. The very same daycare that I have driven them to twice a week for over a year. Okay…. maybe lost is an exaggeration. I took a wrong turn. Is that the same as lost?
I had a big meeting at work; I had get there on time. But as with anything involving three kids and timeliness, things don’t always go according to plan. Buddy ran over Bear with his tricycle in the kitchen, and if there was any doubt about whether the hit was accidental or intentional, he then grabbed Bear by the shirt and shoved him again.
Buddy gets a tongue lashing and I check Bear for injuries. All good.
We get into the car and head toward daycare… except that we didn’t.
From the backseat (waaaay back, 3rd row of the swagger wagon), I hear a little peep from the freshly scolded boy… *sniff sniff* “Mommy… you took a wrong turn.” “Mommy, this isn’t the way to school.”
Snap. “Thanks, dude.” What would I do if I didn’t have these children to keep my in line? Did I mention that he is 3?
I perform a 3 point turn and head toward daycare… actual daycare, and spent much of the trip thanking Buddy for having my back.
Fast forward to the day’s end. I head home after work (which went swimmingly) and find myself in heavy traffic at a crawl. I typically collect the clan from daycare by around 4:30 but I stayed late for the meeting… it is now 5:30… 5:45… Crap. Daycare closes at 6pm.
In case you were wondering: it is impossible to make traffic move faster by the force of will. Nor does hitting the steering wheel, cursing, or agitating in your seat have any impact.
When I finally get off of the highway, just after 6, I was certain that I would only be 5 or so minutes late for pick up… except that traffic was worse instead of better. I eventually see that there was a huge horrible-looking accident right in front of the turn I needed to take to pick up the kids. I sincerely hope that no one was hurt. In the end, it took nearly half an hour to go less than 2 miles.
When I finally get to daycare, a full half hour after closing, there’s a single car in the parking lot, most of the windows are dark. I’m crying because the traffic gods were so cruel to me on the one and only day I’ve ever had to leave work past 4pm, and I failed to pick up my children by the appointed time. They must feel abandoned. How will I make it up to them? *cue mommy guilt*… but wait…
I see my kids through the door, running up and down the long hallway at top speeds pushing beach balls larger than they are. I go in and begin the requisite groveling apologies to the kids and the teacher.
Buddy looks up at me and says, “It’s alright mommy, we were still having fun.”
Goose pipes up, “Lots of fun!” (She would have liked to stay longer.)
Bear chimes in, “Ball? Ball? See? Ball?”
The teacher was wonderfully understanding and so were the kids. And I’m left wondering, again, why I insist on beating myself up when it was clearly a non-issue with everyone else involved. I really have to stop doing that.
And I need to remember to take more direction from the littles… they have a better idea of where I’m going than I do.