stop and go
Yesterday I barely made it on time to pick Smootch up from school. I wheeled up at the last second before the bell pulling Birdie in his red wagon. Birdie, in his pajamas, was barely visible under a pile of blankets and two stuffies. While all the children at the school think my boy in his 'second bed' is adorable and envy his princely disposition, it is easy to see that their parents are less charmed at our disheveled appearance at three o'clock in the afternoon.
No time to worry about this, though, as I led the kids home at breakneck speed. We were having an early supper - two hours early. More evidence of my discontinuity with time. But it was necessary in order to get us all fed before we once again raced out the door so I could set up in time for my roller derby league's information night. While making up some quick (vegan) burgers, I shouted at Smootch to quickly 'do her reading' for school and briefly considered forcing Birdie to put some daytime clothes on. But then I got distracted and forgot to worry about it.
Once in the truck, I remembered I had forgotten to print out my 'info sheets' and made a screech in and hustle stop at a mega office supply store. While dashing through the parking lot, the kids and I noticed a seagull gamely dodging cars while trying to pick through a paper bag holding discarded fast food. Watching the seagull, its wings opening to an impressive spread to lift up seconds before a car beared down on it, matching wits with the paper bag, I thought perhaps I had a responsibility here. Either to pick up the bag and discard it... somewhere... or to open it up wide in a safer spot, giving the gull an easy opportunity to eat just as badly as we do. In the end I decided that this just wasn't my drama today and left the scene to unfold without us.
While in the shop I bad a brief tussle with the clerk while trying to keep the kids' hands off of the merchandise. Sometime during the middle of our exchange, Birdie, still pajama clad, announced, 'Mama, my belly hurts and I gotta go poo real bad.'
I said, 'Can you hang on one minute while I finish up here and I'll take you to the bathroom?'
Birdie says, with bravery, 'I'll clench.' He can be such a good boy.
With prints and poops done, off we went to info night. We rushed in the door, I threw the kids their helmets and bikes and pointed them towards the empty arena, and then our first arrival came by taxi, twenty minutes early. And then the next and the next. I kicked the kids out of no longer empty arena. We had a fantastic turn out. I was utterly unprepared for it.
Thank goodness we'd done our business at the print shop.
It's all okay, though, because I know quite a few good people, and together we married our potential new skaters with skates and safety gear and got them all out on the track. Between myself and a couple other good friends, we kept the kids in attendance (not just mine) calm, safe, and at least mildly entertained. And I was once again struck by how people each have their own selective talents and strengths, but when we work together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.
Whenever I meet someone who seems to have it together - the hair cut recently and in place, the fashionable outfit just so, smoothly appropriate reactions and conversational topics - I feel a little hint of green-eye. Mostly, though, I feel sad for them. While it's a bit embarrassing for me when I take the younger sibling on the school run in pajamas not just once but twice in the same day, I make no claims to perfection. It's really nothing more than a slight ding on my rusty old truck of a life. What must it be like to live under the tyranny of polish and cultivation? It must be terrifying to take the self out that has been buffed to perfection under ideal conditions, only to be roughed up and dented by experience.
Yesterday was both an anomaly and completely normal. Busier, true, but my time is usually spent going full speed with frequent full stops to watch a beetle crawl up Smootch's arm, pet the cat, or help Birdie attach all those little magnet trains just so. Or to write this post. Real life, if one should chose to wade in and enjoy the continuously changing conditions, is sloppy, confusing, exhilarating and terrifying. The best of everything is found usually after much discomfort and effort. No time worry about how it appears from the outside. I've found it best to assume that others can see my faults already. Then, to balance my ego, I think they can admire how I press forward and do it anyway.
Really, I wish only the same for them too.