Except- it turned into a 2.5 hour nap. (An anomaly in itself. I am a reverse vampire- I cannot sleep during the day. Well, except for yesterday. Of course.) Which would have been fine- if that impromptu “nap” hadn’t run right through lunch. During which, I’d promised to bring my youngest Arby’s. Cause I’m an awesome mom like that. (“Awesome mom like that” herein defined as: a mom who happened to be out of lunch makings. AKA: slacker mom.)
I woke up when my middle son walked in from college- holding a bag of Arby’s. It was a little like one of those nightmares where you’re back in high school late for class, have a test can’t open your locker and can’t find your classroom. Naked. I was dressed- but it was that kind of panicked wake-up. I immediately went into “recovery mode.” (Where I try to fix whatever I’ve screwed up. I’ve made enough mistakes in life to know you can often fix them.) I looked at the clock: “3:34.” Not helping. Lunch was so very over that it was almost time for the bus to show up.
In my mind I could picture him- a sepia toned cafeteria- my child. Sitting alone. Head on his crossed arms- tears puddling on the dirty table. I hear him- between sniffs -“No, I don’t need to borrow money for lunch. My mom SAID she’d be here. She’s bringing Arby’s.” I see the cafeteria emptying out like closing time at a local bar. He’s still waiting. The lights go out. Dejected- he heads to class. Hungry and heart broken. (And the only kid in sepia while the school is in HD. So weird.)
In a flash (it’s 3:35 now.) I realize: He’ll never trust me again. He’ll be in therapy for years. He’ll probably develop a lunch stealing habit. Or, maybe a rare- can’t eat Arby’s because of the trauma- disorder. Someday we’ll have a reality show: “My mom forgot my lunch and now I’ll get her.” Or something equally gritty and riveting.
Which makes me instantly feel: angry. Because- really- it’s his own fault for being so picky. I mean- I had perfectly good PB and J he could have taken- if he wasn’t such a spoiled little…..
Wait. Did I really just blame my kid for my mistake? Yes. Yes, I did. Here’s a secret: Mom’s are human. When confronted with a fault (or something that’s our fault) we tend to try to blame others instead of taking responsibility. But even my mad-mom-skillz of blame couldn’t hold up that weak excuse for long.
It was my own fault. I promised. I forgot.
“If I really haul it- I can make to to Arby’s and back by the time the bus gets here.” Okay- I also thought: “It would be worth a ticket.” I grabbed my slippers, purse and keys and headed out the door. I made it as far as the corner before traffic backed up. (Which is about 17 feet past my driveway…. it was that kind of day.) I silently cursed the private school up the street that dismisses just before bus time…. Then, I prayed. Because thats’ what Christians do when we’ve just cursed a school.
Traffic slowly opened up, I heard the hallelujah chorus as I squealed my tires into Arby’s drive through. I did not order from the kids menu.(Classic mom- suck up tactic.) I have no idea what they charged my credit card- I didn’t look or ask. Heading home- I rounded corners like an indy driver. I needed to beat that bus. Our relationship depended on it. (It felt like it did.) I was so fast I had time to stop by the house—-
“What else can I do to make it up to him?” In our family we have a rule- public offense- public apology- private offense- private apology. My vision of him sitting through lunch neglected- was public. So- I grabbed a piece of 2′ x 3′ poster board (Probably someone’s assignment….I’ll apologize for snatching that later…Oops.) and a sharpie to make an “I’m sorry” sign. I pulled in at the bust stop just before the bus. I grabbed the Arby’s bag and the sign and stuck them both on the dash in the windshield. (I may have been hiding behind them.) I watched from behind the sign….his shaking head and smile told me all I needed to know….. It worked. He ran to the car.
I apologized again. And then again- for putting a huge I’m sorry & I love you” sign in the window…. he said “There’s almost no one on the bus. I liked it. And- I love you mom. ” When we got home he climbed up onto my chair with me and said, “I forgive you, mom. I love you.”
I would have cried, if I wasn’t (still) so tired.
Mom’s are human. We mess up. We make promises. We break promises. We forget things. We get angry. We pretty much: screw up.
Because we’re human- we can’t avoid messing up. What we CAN do- is handle our mess ups in a loving and mature way.
1) Admit it.
2) Take responsibility. (Step away from the blame…)
4) Make amends, where possible.
It’s the best we can do…. and it’s enough.
“Dear Lord- I messed up again. Please minimize the damage I’ve done to my kids and help me handle my mess ups with love and maturity….. Thank you lord for forgiving kids- and Thank you Lord for your example of grace… let this be a family that lives- gives and receives- your grace. amen.”
For those worried about whether Noah ate yesterday or not: he got a hot lunch- and all of his friends gave him goodies from their lunch. He probably had a better lunch than Arby’s and had the bonus of pity for having a slacker mom…. which = attention. which- he likes. As far as I can tell- there was no sepia involved. The end.