Thursday, November 04, 2010


But after ragging on a friend just a few weeks ago about her son forgetting his show-and-tell at home, how could I do it? How could I just turn around and take him back home to pick them up?

Especially when this isn't the first time this has happened.

Especially when we just did this same thing last week when he forgot his sunglasses at home on Shade Out Drugs day, and I DID turn around and go home, which made us a little later than normal, and sent my law-abiding citizen of a daughter into such a (legitimate) tizzy, that I wasn't sure I'd be able to talk her down from the ledge.

And especially since we just went to our town's public library yesterday and left with TWELVE books!!!  I mean, it's not like he's lacking, for pete's sake.  His own personal bookshelves are jam-packed and overflowing already.

But it's BOOKS!!  And I have a reaaaal soft spot for any and everything having to do with reading.  And he pretty much knows that.  And he puts on that face.  And he's just got those eyes.  And he says please, and pretty please, and oh, Mama, but you know how much I loooooove books, and I won't be able to check ANYTHING out from school today if I don't return the ones I have.

So, I drop the monsters off, and come home to work on my writing.  And the books, like the tell-tale heart, are staring at me from the stepstool in the kitchen.  Pounding... thumping... whispering my name.

And I ignore them as best I can, turning up the TV in one room, Pandora in another.

And when noontime rolls around, I walk over to the books, gently sliding my finger across the top of the pile, listening to them sigh, contemplating the ease with which I could just load them into my truck and trot them over to his classroom before library time this afternoon.

I imagine his glee at coming back from lunch to find his books neatly piled atop his desk, waiting to be returned, to be exchanged, to give him joy.

I imagine the huge gorgeous smile on his face as he runs up to me after school, calling me the best mom in the whole wide world, and giving me the best bear hugs on the planet.

And out of the corner of my imagining eye, I see my daughter, my Jiminy Cricket, scowling at me for giving in.  Making me stick to my guns.  And I turn back around and walk upstairs.

When I picked them up from school, he was visibly upset, as he had just come from the library -- empty-handed.

"What's wrong, son?" I ask.

"Everyone else got to check out books today," he mumbled.

"Hmm...I see."

"And you didn't bring me mine, so I was the only one who couldn't," he jabs.

"Ah," I say.

And suddenly I'm the bad mama. And I hate the way this moment feels. He's so disappointed. And it's something I could have prevented.  And I want to fix it, but know that I can't.  So, I stop walking, squat down, look him in the eye, and say...

"But it was whose responsibility, pop?"

"Mine," he pouts, kicking a pebble and looking down at his shoes.

"And Mama reminded you how many times last night?" I ask.

"Three," he mumbles, still refusing to look up at me.

"And so next week you'll remember to..."

"Put my books into my backpack the first time you remind me."

[And that's all we can hope for, isn't it?  Maybe not next week.  But eventually.  And then hopefully, for the rest of their lives.]

No comments: