Week in My Life 2013: Tuesday

This week I’m trying to blog every day as part of the Week in My Life series.

I left Leo’s Lego Ninjago shirt draped over his footboard so he would see it first thing in the morning, but he’s squinting in the bright light when he comes out of his room, and he hasn’t noticed it.
I think it’s bitterly cold, but he loves shorts, and since it’s an out-of-uniform day—picture day—I let him wear shorts.
Breakfast is the same as yesterday and almost every day before that. Yet again it’s wildly popular (and not just because Leo is wearing a shirt that sparkles).
I pack lunches and then head for the shower. While I’m there, Baba draws the most amazing pictures to put in their lunchboxes. He takes the boys’ requests, which they love.
This one is for Leo.
This one is for Daniel.
We have yet another form to fill out for school—for an approaching Bingo night—and we have it ready to go, yet somehow we manage to forget to put it in Leo’s backpack. If you’re surprised by this, you must be new to this blog, where, as Leo cheerfully says, “Mama, you forget something every day!”
Getting into the car today both boys want to draw faces in the condensation, so we pause in the cold air to draw, and I worry that Leo is wearing shorts. But some battles don’t seem worth fighting, and he has a jacket with him.
Besides, we’re leaving. The boys are buckled and we’re on our way.
Because Leo wants as many people as possible to see his shirt, he asks me to take Daniel to school first.
“See my shirt?” Leo asks three children gazing up at him—this huge kindergartener who has deigned to visit their preschool. “Who likes this shirt? If you like it, raise your hand.”
Two of the three hands fly into the air. Leo seems satisfied. It’s a clear majority.
Daniel’s cold is worse today, but he’s smiling as he waves us goodbye.
At Leo’s school he jumps out of the car, slides his arms into his backpack, and he’s off, headed up the steps to school. He can’t wait to show his friends his T-shirt. This day is really all about the shirt.
Then I’m off to work—except I have to stop at Rite Aid for a safety pin since the only suit I could find in our we’ve-just-moved state is the one that needs a safety pin where the zipper failed years ago. So I stop at Rite Aid and while there I also pick up a little skeleton for the front yard, which could stand a bit more spookiness.
At the office I have plenty of writing to do, and in the middle of it I get an email from the mothers who ran a fundraiser for Leo’s school. The products we ordered have arrived, and I can only pick them up between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. The message says that if I can’t be there, I need to ask someone else to get it for me.
But I can’t be there because I will be here.
And I don’t want to ask someone to get my stuff for me. I want someone at the school to hold onto it for a few hours so I can pick it up when I come for my child. Or I want evening hours. I want them to realize not everyone can take off an hour in the middle of the afternoon to pick up a fundraiser order.
My astute mother observes that I am able to find people to entrust at the school to watch my son until 5:30, but there is no one who can keep an eye on my wrapping paper.
The next email I receive is a perfectly friendly one from Leo’s teacher telling me that shorts are not allowed on out-of-uniform days. At this point I have decided that I will have to relinquish my mother badge, since I am not qualified to dress my child or pick up my wrapping paper order.
Naturally this all happens on one of the very rare days when I am working late and John will be picking up both of our children, feeding them dinner, and enjoying their company before tucking them into bed.
Still, I push aside my delinquent mother skills to get ready for Gen. Colin Powell’s visit. When I get in the car to drive to the event, I realize that Leo left his beloved Cat in the Hat on his booster seat. I won’t be home until after bedtime. My son will have to go to sleep without the Cat. I send a quick email to John to let him know so they aren’t tearing the house apart looking for it later.
But I can’t worry about the Cat because I am interviewing students who are about to meet a four-star general. It’s exhilarating and fun.
I was so happy to capture this photo.
I meet Gen. Powell very, very briefly, just to pose for a photo with him, and I say something simple and pointless like “Welcome to Loyola. Thank you so much for coming,” and he smiles graciously and seems so very kind and genuine. Soon we’re in the lecture, and I’m typing as quickly as I can, trying to capture the speech so I can write a story for the Loyola magazine website.
By the time we’re finished, it’s 8:45, and I head for home. Leo has fallen asleep, but when I ask John whether the boys asked for me, he tells me that Leo said, “When will Mama get home? I miss my kitty.”
I know they had a great time with Baba because I see this on the kitchen table.
Daniel, who is groggy and still fighting his cold, wants (and gets) lots of hugs and says, “Why did you have to take the Cat in the Hat with you in the car?”
Why, indeed?
And then he’s falling asleep, and I’m off to do some writing—for work and for fun, though it’s hard sometimes to say which is which.

Just in case you missed it: Week in My Life: Monday.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.