There is a packet of papers from the middle school laying on the coffee table. They are the forms parents of eighth graders need to fill out if we want to have a special message printed in the yearbook for our graduates. My daughter brought it home right after Christmas vacation.
She handed it to me as I was fixing dinner on a weeknight. I read the forms quickly, made a mental note of the due date which was over a month away, and set them aside in a place where I knew I would remember them. I really wanted to write something special for her, but I also didn’t want to interrupt the flow of my work in the kitchen. I was tired from the work day and knew I needed every bit of concentration I could muster to get our meal on the table.
After a few days, I honestly had completely forgotten about the forms. In mid-January this same daughter represented her school in the prestigious All County Orchestra and I did the things any mom would do to support her child in this endeavor: driving, shopping for her concert attire, dropping everything to bring a forgotten violin to the rehearsal venue an hour away. A week later, I received word from the high school of an attendance issue involving her sister. We (the vice-principal’s secretary, the school social worker, my older daughter and I) resolved the problem on a Thursday. On Friday, I was in the pediatrician’s office with the eighth grader to get medical clearance for an endoscopy scheduled for the following Monday. A Nor’easter hit our area that day so I rescheduled with the doctor and shoveled snow instead. Right around this time, I started hitting the snooze button at 5:30 a.m. instead of kicking off the the covers for a workout and morning prayers. Despite the weather, report cards were delivered home through the mail. Consequently, I talked with my girls about managing stress and responsibility as one daughter took the B+ she earned in Math as shameful failure and the other was content to get by with a D. “That’s still passing, Mom,” she argued. Deep sigh.
Another week went by. I made the nightly dinners and shoveled more snow. On an after-work errand run, I held my hand on my car horn and yelled angry words at the driver of a black Mercedes-Benz when she slipped out of nowhere into the parking spot I had been waiting for. I spent the next few days worrying about this uncharacteristically reactive behavior.
The Saturday before Valentine’s Day each of my girls invited a friend over to make Oreo truffles, a new tradition in our home. My job: pulverize the Oreos in our blender and clean the melted chocolate mess when they were done. During the week that followed I kept up just the basics of my routine: wake up early, go to work, come home, make dinner, clean kitchen, zone out in front of Pinterest, say a short prayer, go to bed. I might have also done a load or two of laundry. Definitely ate a few truffles.
Remember the yearbook forms?
I didn’t. They were due February 14, the last day before a week-long vacation.