Last Friday I failed miserably in the parenting department.
We didn’t have our usual routine since our daycare provider had taken that day off. The morning started with Punkie running a very low grade fever that I knew was the result of her top teeth trying to come in. She was in a fantastic mood and was playing as usual. I gave her a dose of Tylenol and we got ourselves ready to go to our backup sitter’s house.
Tucker usually walks to school, but since our schedule was different he got to ride the bus with big bro Cade. He was STOKED!
I dropped Ella off at daycare and explained the low fever. The sitter wasn’t concerned and I was happy that she was okay with it and I went on my way. I drove to work thinking this was going to be a GREAT Friday. My only remaining parental responsiblity until the end of the day was to call the school and let them know Tucker needed to ride the bus to his Papa’s house.
I got to work and went about my daily routine. Filing, ordering, research, contacting customers…the usual. It was a good day. We were extremely busy, but productive.
As my lunch hour approached my cell phone rang. It was the sitter. My heart sank as I knew my little Punkie must not being doing well.
“She’s running a fever between 101 and 102. She’s not fussy and she seems okay. She’s just hot. I just wanted to check and see if it was okay to give her some more Tylenol.”
“By all means, yes. I can come get her right now.”
“No worries. I think she’ll be fine. It’s just her teeth and she’s not fussing.”
“Are you sure? I can come.”
“No, she’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
I REALLY wanted to go get her, but I couldn’t afford to take any more time off either AND my supervisor was gone on vacation which meant it would leave us even more short handed. So, I decided to stay at the office. I knew she’d call if she got worse.
I went about the rest of my day getting projects cleared off my desk and lots accomplished.
At precisely 3:48 my cell phone rang. It was a number from home. I answered thinking it must be my sitter’s home phone and Ella wasn’t doing so hot.
“Hi, this is Kathy from the school.”
“OH, NO!!!! Tucker is supposed to ride the bus!!! OH, NO! I completely forgot to call. I am so sorry.”
“Oh, it happens all the time. He kept telling us he was supposed to ride the bus, but we told him ‘no’ because you hadn’t called. He kept telling us ‘yes’ and he’s in tears, so that’s why we called.”
“Oh, no. I feel terrible. Yes, yes, yes. He’s supposed to ride the bus to his grandpa’s house. Please tell him his mommy says she’s so sorry!”
I got off the phone and just wanted to cry. I had completely failed my son. The ONE thing I never wanted for him just happened. I never wanted him to have to worry about how he was going to get home, or if someone was to come for him, if someone had remembered him. I never wanted him to feel forgotten…
He’s just like me. He’s a worrier. He needs to know the details. He needs to know what the plan is. He needs to know exactly what to do and when. He’s just like his mother. I’m a planner. I’m a worrier. I had many anxious moments as a child worrying about these sorts of things.
My head hung low for the rest of the afternoon. I just wanted to leave the office and get my babies. I just wanted to hug both of them and let them know how sorry I was that I wasn’t there for them that day. I wanted to start the day all over again and listen to my gut when it told me I should have stayed home with Punkie and let Tucker ride the bus all the way home.
As soon as 5:00 hit I bee-lined it for the door. I picked up my overheated daughter and then made my way to my in-laws to retrieve my son. As soon as I got there I passed Ella off and found Tucker. I got down on my knees in front of him and apologized over and over for my mistake. He immediately relived his frustration as he broke into tears and a big “I was scared, Mommy” hug. I told him how sorry I was for making him scared and worried that he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. We had our moment and he was fine.
I know in reality the day was much harder on me than it was on my kids. They were in good hands. They were being taken care of and would have been just fine. It was just my own self doubt that was weighing so heavily on me. I know there will more days like this. I know that no parent can get it right all the time. I suppose it’s a good thing for my kids to see me as a real person and not Super Mom. They need to know that I don’t always get it right and therefore the world can’t expect THEM to always get it right.
Tough lesson all the way around.
Peace, love and mishaps.