There are times, like yesterday, that my kids make me hold my breath.
Not in the cherubic-I-love-this-kid sense, but in the sense that if I didn't hold my breath for a second, and collect myself, I'd be calling someone to post bail.
It actually started last Wednesday, when Nolan needed help with some homework. And the homework turned into a project he'd known about for a week, and was attempting to pound through the night before it was due.
Now, I am the Queen of Procrastination. My best papers were always ones I completed the night before they were due. I can sympathize with him there. But we'd spent the week thusfar asking him every night, "Did you get all your work done? Are you sure?" only to hear "Yeah, I'm good."
Mr W was beside himself, he was so annoyed. He wasn't happy that I wasn't quite on the same page with him. Was I annoyed too? Yup. Doubly so, because I'd asked about supplies Nolan might need coming up soon (that I'd seen on sale at Target) and he'd blown me off. He even shrugged off a suggestion I made to make this one look better, "We're supposed to make it look old." "How am I supposed to know that," I snapped, "if you don't show me the requirements of the assignment?" I'm the thing that looks old, I thought, as I left the room.
I was done after that, and while Mr W fumed, I told explained my stance.
"First of all, he'd probably going to turn in something that looks like what the other kids are doing, no better, but no worse. And when he passes, he will be smug, and we will have gotten all worked up about nothing. And secondly, I remember doing the same thing a couple of times, and my Mom, she let me fall on my face. I hated to get bad grades, and she knew it. It took me messing up a couple of times, but I caught on, and stopped springing projects that needed extra stuff on her at the last minute."
"Nolan is a good kid, a good student, and he knows what we expect of him. He'll come around."
I let it pass, and we got through the weekend.
Yesterday, I was picking up his friend (I'm the drop-off ride this week) and his Mom asks me about a band concert.
It's tonight. They have to dress accordingly. And when she mentioned it, it was the first I'd heard of it.
Deep breath, I tell myself.
Afterschool, I tell Nolan he needs to try on his pants from his Spring concert. I know they won't fit, but what the hell?
He barely buttons them, and tries to tell me they will do.
"Only if you plan on singing soprano," I point out. Off we go, to get him pants and a shirt. When we are done, I send him off with Audrey to find his brothers in the Halloween aisle (we were in Target), I find myself shaking my head, thinking, I can't even really get mad. This is just like me. I remember my Mom driving me around to various relatives' houses to cobble together an outfit (skirt here, shirt there) or scrounging through her closet the night before some event at school. She made it look so easy, why am I sweating it in Target?
As I'm paying, I tell Nolan we need to find him some shoes next, to run to Payless and I'll meet him there. (At the rate he's growing, Payless is all I'm willing to pay for, for one night.)
"Mom, my shoes are fine." "Um, no, they're not. Remember, you barely made it into them for the last concert??" "Oh. Yeah."
I have visions of smacking him upside the head, security cameras be damned.
Finally, we are all home again. I'm on the home stretch, and getting them all to bed. We had a good night, watching a movie while I made dinner and we ate, it was nice. Mr W was still at work, so we were all helping each other out.
It's about nine. Ben comes up to me, "Mom." He holds up his inhaler. "This feels empty, like all I'm getting is air."
It's NINE. I tell him to use it anyway, and point out to him we were just at Target, I could have had it refilled then, why didn't he say something sooner....
I'm mentally swearing a blue streak, how can he forget, I'm not the one using it each day, how am I supposed to know....
And I think of my Mom.
Who by now, is probably scratching a cosmic itch, giggling to herself.
I shake my head at him. "I'll take care of it tomorrow."
Next time I see my Mom, I'm hugging her as hard as I can.
Because if I didn't have her patient, loving example in my head every day, she would be down a grandchild or two.