Life Has Not Changed a Bit

Posted by mwallach on March 11, 2013 in My Kids, New To You |

Dear That’s Life,
There is a comfort in knowing that crazy still follows me everywhere, even after 5 months of radio silence.

I know: I have been rather delinquent about posting to my blog. And I apologize. But thanks to recent events, I have made time to actually sit down at my computer and do something other than write up a proposal or program a show.

The guilt of a working parent knows no end. That is the beginning and end to this conversation. And we all go to various lengths to assuage that guilt. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and while we often try to do the right thing, or what we think is the right thing, it does not always work out.

Such was the case last week when my son’s class was performing at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. I was determined to be there, committed to making the effort, promising to take him out for dinner after the event was over. Working full time has been an adjustment for the entire family, with some taking it harder than others. This was going to be alone time with my son – time we both desperately needed – and we were looking forward.

Despite having left the studio with plenty of time, I should have predicted that my punctual arrival at the museum would still be left to fate. In this case, karma appeared in the form of a NYPD tow truck the size of my house. A UPS truck of similar girth to that of the NYPD vehicle, with numerous parking tickets stuck on its windshield, was in need of a towing.

Besides the inconvenience to all of those UPS customers whose packages would not arrive on time, every car stuck behind these two trucks in lower Manhattan was not going anywhere either. Blocking off the entire street in lower Manhattan during rush hour, the NYPD officer had a job to do, and neither my son’s performance nor the ticking of the clock were concerns of his at all. And so, along with more than ten cars behind me, we waited about 15 minutes until the vehicles were well on their way and the UPS truck was dragged to the pound. Good luck to that UPS driver on being employee of the month.

With less than fifteen minutes left until their slotted performance time, I quickly found the closest parking lot to where I was – which was right near the Staten Island Ferry – convinced that I would have better luck on foot at this point than in my car. “Our credit card machine is not working today,” said the attendant, but I did not care. Fortuitously, I had more than $15 in my pocket for one of the first times in my life and was therefore unconcerned. I left the keys and headed out.

With the clock rapidly ticking, and my working mom’s guilt overflowing, I ran (in heels) from the ferry to the museum. It was not the first time someone looked at me strangely and it was certainly not going to be the last. What – no woman in downtown Manhattan had ever run in boots before? And regardless, my son was expecting me. With all of the sacrifices kids with make for their working parents, and the disappointment they often feel, I just did not want to mess this up.

By the skin of my teeth and in a full sweat, I arrived within minutes of his class’s performance. I was able to see him before they went in and enjoyed the entire event. My blood pressure eventually settled down. I was relieved and he was happy to see me. It was all worth it. As planned, I planned to take him home when it was time to leave and we were going to enjoy some time by ourselves. Dinner without my iphone, talking without checking my email. Just me and my boy. But, as to be expected, that’s not how it worked out.

“Mommy,” he said, “can we go out for dinner another time?” It seems that dinner was provided by the museum, and the chicken was delicious. “I am so full,” he added. “No problem,” I said, smiling. “We can go another time.” But that was not where our conversation would end.

“And Mommy…?” he said, his voice trailing off. “Can I go home on the bus?”

Stunned, my eyes bugged out of my head. “What?!” I asked, totally taken aback. What kid wants to go home on the a bus when he can go home with his parent in the comfort of a car? But he explained.

“The bus company sent a coach bus instead of a school bus,” he said, “and it is SO cool!”

I laughed, appreciating the irony but not surprised that another event in my life evolved the way it did. “No problem,” I said, giving him a hug. “Have a good time.”

“Thanks, Ma,” he said, turning around. “Just don’t forget – you have to pick me up in an hour from school.” And with that, off he went, happy as a clam.

There was nothing I could do but laugh. I thought I was doing everything right, but I just could not compete with a coach bus. Of course, there was no time to linger and enjoy the moment, because I still had to get my car back and hightail it to the Five Towns. Time was ticking and I only had an hour, and it would be hard to make it from Battery Park to Lawrence in 60 minutes. And wouldn’t you know it: I got there ten minutes late.

Life has not changed a bit…

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