Today is my birthday. I am 44. My day starts out beautifully as I get happy birthdays from my kids and my husband gives me a very nice bracelet and my kids give me a necklace that I love. Older kids head to school and I have a little time to have coffee with my husband before getting my youngest up and ready for school (she goes to a different school). I decided to actually shower as I was going to meet some friends for coffee. Unfortunately, I was experiencing some PMS breakout action on my face (are we not OVER this at the age of 44, REALLY?!) and I vowed that I would not do any picking (which is one of my biggest weaknesses), but I just couldn’t resist and decided to perform surgery on a pimple in the middle of my cheek. Well, the clock was ticking as I was picking and I realized that I was supposed to meet my friends (and co-authors of a book we are working on) in 15 minutes and not only did I have to take my daughter to school which is a 15 minute drive but she wasn’t even dressed yet. Shit! So I texted my friends and told them I’d be 15 minutes late.

Ok, so off I go with my daughter. As I am trying to make it to her school in record time I realize that you cannot get anywhere fast after the largest snowfall of the year, yeah, the one that made the Metrodome collapse…so I am doing the best I can but the 15 minutes I had allotted to get to her school is far from realistic. But I get her there in 25 and race her in, jump back in my car to head off to see my friends. I am half way to them and my cell phone rings and I can see it is from my daughter’s school. “Your daughter’s class went on a field trip and she missed the bus,” the principal tells me. “We can keep her here and put her in another class or you can come back and take her to the field trip.” “Shit...again!!!” “Well, what does she want to do,” I ask knowing full well what the answer will be. “She wants to go on the field trip.” Of course she does. I am reminded of an incident a week ago where I took my son to the bus stop for ski school and went to the wrong drop off location, and by the time I found the right place the bus was pulling out of the parking lot and headed onto the freeway. Mind you, they were going to a ski place that was over an hour away. I looked backed at my son who was mortified and said to him, "We are going to get you on that bus!" I proceeded to chase that bus down the highway, and don't ask me how fast I was driving...not my best parenting poor son was white knuckling it in the back seat. I did, however, manage to flag down the bus and the bus driver reluctantly pulled over at an exit and let my son on the bus.

Back to my daughter's school I go to pick her up, and today, the field trip bus was long gone. The principal reminds my daughter and I to bring her lunch with her so I tell her to grab her backpack because her lunch is in it. I call my friends and tell them I will be there in a half hour. It takes me 40 minutes to get to the museum on the snowy roads. I am in tears. Get to the museum and tell my daughter to grab her lunch from her backpack. “But mom I took it out of my back pack and put it in my locker like I always do.” I am biting my lower lip so I hard that I think I taste blood. “Ok, I am sure someone will share their lunch with you (even though my daughter can hardly eat anything because she has wheat and dairy sensitivities).

Park illegally, go into the museum. We are greeted by a museum volunteer--a nice, elderly man who leads us very slowly to an elevator to take us down to where her class is. The elevator is a VERY old elevator and moves in slow motion. Finally, after several LONG minutes, I see the LL button light up and we have arrived at the right floor. The sweet man looks at my daughter and says, “Oh wait. We have to go back up to the main floor to put her coat in the coat check.” “OH NO, WE REALLY DON’T!!!!” comes roaring out of my mouth, much to my daughter’s dismay. I lean into him and say in a pleading way, “I REALLY, really have to go.” I grab my daughter and pull her out of the elevator. “Wait, honey!” he yells to my daughter. “I will take your coat up to the coat check.” [Because your INSANE mother is in no shape to do so for you]. Ok fine, I pull off her jacket and hand it over to him, reaching into the depth of my being to find a smile and a thank you for this sweet-hearted old man who I am ready to take out. By the time I locate her class and reach the teacher, I am shaking, and holding back tears. I tell her about the forgotten lunch. “Don’t worry. We’ll feed her.” And as I turn my back to leave, I hear my daughter’s teacher who has known me since she taught my oldest daughter 10 years ago, (when I was 34, and had a few less kids and was a bit less scattered) say, “And happy birthday, Julie!”

The day got better, and then got “interesting.” My car did not get towed nor ticketed. I get to see my friends for five minutes before they both have to leave. But I was happy to see them, nonetheless. I got to see my sister and another friend for a quick lunch. Then rushed home to change for my yoga certification test, which went well and I passed. As I am getting feedback from the yogis who tested me, my phone rings, and I see it is my son so I excuse myself and answer. “Mom I got in trouble at school today.” “Ok, honey, this will have to wait, I am in a meeting.” Stomach drops to ground but finish the meeting, get in my car and check voice mail messages, “Hi, this is the dean of the middle school, please call me about your son.” Get home, my son is sobbing on the couch. “Mom, I got in big trouble at school today. I am so sorry.” Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!!!! What the @#!#?!!

http://writing4families.blogspot.comI walked upstairs, went into my office, and closed the door. I called my husband and turned the whole situation with my son over to him (which I RARELY do when it comes to kids and school stuff). Then I wrote for two hours. My husband actually handled the issue with my son beautifully, much better than I would have at the time. And when I was ready, I called my son in to talk to me and we had a very good discussion about what happened. “I’m sorry for ruining your birthday,” he said. “You didn’t,” I told him. “I am going to go out for dinner with dad. It is really you who is suffering with this, not me. I hope you learned your lesson.” But of course I was suffering. Because as much as you don't want it to be, most of the time, our children's pain becomes our own. Ouch! And speaking of ouch, by this time, the infamous pimple had become a lovely flakey scab on my cheek. Thankfully, my husband pretended not to notice it at my birthday dinner.

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