I’m sorry I showed up ten minutes late to our play date/church function/special event/(insert anything). I know you get tired of my excuses. I know it’s rude. I know it’s annoying for you to wait, and it’s a waste of your time. I know this isn’t the first time or even the second…or third. Really I tried so hard this time.
I had already resolved that today was the day things were going to be different. Today I would conquer the race against the clock. Today I would win! “I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED,” was my motto as I jumped up ready to face the day.
I set out all of our clothing the night before. I had a quick breakfast already made. I took a shower the night before. I was prepared and ready for the day. I had a plan! I knew exactly what time we were supposed to leave the house to make it to your house on time, five to ten minutes early even! You were going to be so impressed this time.
My kids were ready. Hair was fixed. Clothing was on. Bellies were fed. Teeth were brushed. We looked put together. We were actually going to make it this time. It was actually happening! Could today really be the day?
I grab my purse confidently and calmly announce to my children it’s time for them to put on their shoes. A simple act of putting on shoes shouldn’t take very long, right? I mean, it’s summer. We’re still wearing flip flops. Those take a total of five seconds to put on. There are no shoelaces or buckles or snaps. They are the lowest maintenance shoe on the planet. As an adult when I’m ready to go, I effortlessly put on my shoes and simply walk outside. There is no drama or scene. Putting on shoes with children is a whole other experience.
“Mom! I can’t find my shoes,” one yells from the back bedroom.
In my head, I’m baffled. How can she not find any single pair of shoes? She has at least ten! Surely there is one that she can find. Did we have a burglar that entered the home in the middle of the night to specifically raid our home of little girl’s shoes?
I enter the bedroom of the dramatic seven year old to find that she indeed can find a pair of shoes, it’s just not the one that she wants. “Here put these on. We have to go in five minutes now if we are going to make it on time.”
As I leave her room, sobs from a four year old meet me in the hallway with a pair of flip flops in his hand. “It was an accident,” he whimpers through tears handing me the flip flops with a broken back strap dangling in the wind. I have only told him a million times not to use that back strap as a sling shot. One time too many today of all days. Irritated, but not losing my cool, I put on my MacGyver thinking cap and run to the kitchen to grab the scissors. With a few snips, he now has two flip flops with no back straps to keep the sandals on his feet. He smiles and all is well.
We might still make it!
“Alright, now get in the car. We have to leave right now!”
“But I’m thirsty! Just one more drink?”
Ok ok. Here’s a cup of water. I’m going to get the car started. Meet me out in the garage.
Three minutes pass and children are not in the car. I go inside to inspect. One’s shirt is covered in water and one is on the toilet.
“It was an accident,” my four year old explains.
“You’re just full of accidents today aren’t you, dear. Here arms up.” He knows the drill as I quickly rip off his shirt and throw another one on that doesn’t match and is wrinkled, but hey, it’s a shirt. There’s no time to try to look put together and worry about appearances at this point.
I shout to my daughter in the bathroom, “couldn’t you have waited until we got to where we were going?”
“No I had to go right now. It’s a number two!” she shouts back. Funny how those emergencies come at the most inopportune times. It’s kind of like when I used to get her dressed up in a pretty outfit as a baby, and right when we were ready to leave she would have a major blow out all over the one thing that didn’t already have a stain. She’s been good at this trick since birth.
Ok. I think we’re finally ready. We get in the car. Everyone is dressed. Everyone is wearing shoes. No one is wet.
I look at the clock. If we leave right at this moment, we might make it on time by the skin of our teeth. Forget the early arrival. I’VE STILL GOT THIS! It ain’t over till it’s over!
I peel out of the driveway and make it down my street in record time. I make a left turn out of my neighborhood and come to a complete dead stop. How could I have forgotten about the construction? The awful inconvenient construction that started today, wouldn’t you know it!
Not wanting to be defeated by the evil road work, I choose to try to outsmart the rest of the traffic and find another way.
So proud of myself we whip in and out of one side road after another until we hit the main road. Just my luck. More construction! Why they think it’s a good idea to do all of the construction at one time is beyond me.
Finally I admit my defeat as I succumb to the traffic and take my place in line. It’s over. It’s done. I raise my white flag. I have been proven once again that I am just doomed to be perpetually late.
I finally arrive, my usual ten minutes late, sweaty, disheveled, stressed, and already too tired to make small talk at our kids’ play date.
Hi, yeah, sorry I’m late.