...who won't ask for directions.
I spend a lot of time ferrying kids back and forth, and for the most part, I am okay with it. At this stage of the game, it's just part of the deal. I've gone from spending all day at home covered in Cheerios to spending all afternoon in my van, belting out my favorite tunes, trying to make sure I don't forget anything important.
Like a child.
Just last week, Mr W was home, as were 3 of the kids. I was emptying the dishwasher, and he was playing a computer game, we were just going through the usual afterschool routine of watering and feeding, when I looked at the clock. I looked at Mr W, alarmed: "We gonna get Ben? Because he's getting out of school right now."
His school is about 15-20 minutes away. Oops.
Last night, I had the added challenge of being in two places at once. Audrey and Ryan had a performance, at the elementary school down the street. Ben had a performance with the jazz band at a Mexican restaurant, that for all practical purposes, was on the other side of the world. They all had to be at their places within 45 minutes of each other and their functions were ending at the exact same time. Mr W was working.
It's like a math problem, isn't it? "If one van leaves at 5:30, with three kids, and arrives at 6:30, with two kids, with a detour in the middle, how long will it be before the Mom is escorted away by the men in white coats?"
I left with what I considered plenty of time. I knew, roughly, where Ben had to be, and I'm always up for an adventure. However, I assumed that if we were going to a restaurant, that the area around the restaurant would be oh, I don't know, inhabited by other businesses; not be located on a dark, damp stretch of road that instantly brought to mind visions of Friday the 13th. I panicked, foolishly made a turn in a muddy stretch I thought was a private drive but was really an alley (cue the Jason montage) and drove back down the road a mile, near panicky tears, to the last set of businesses I saw. I was about to call my reinforcements, but stubborn, I-can-do-this made me snatch the map (Ben had neglected to show me at the house before we left) and study it again, telling myself to focus, to think. Oooooohhh. I was on the right track, I just didn't go far enough into no-man's-land to find it. I drove back to where I was just at, and went further, into the darkness. A tiny swath of light appeared, and in it, a tiny sandwich board denoting the restaurant's name. I turned in and there was all kinds of light, and a giant, two story building mocking me with its size, what-took-you-so-long smugness in its facade.
I was about to do the move where I slow down just enough to shove the child out the door, as he was totally, horribly late (25 minutes, which in band-geekdom, translates into an hour, which means I was about to break out in hives) and I had a scant 20 minutes to get the other two to the elementary school when his band director showed up at the side of the van, all friendly and genuinely nice, and asked if we were coming inside. I reminded him of our other engagement, and he reminded me to call him if we had any problems with picking up Ben. (Which also required strategery on my part, but worked out just fine.)
I learned my lesson, took the surface streets I knew back, and we made it.
With seconds to spare.
I pointed and pushed Audrey to her spot, I sat Ryan in his; and I found one for me along the wall next to a friend who must've seen the look on my face as I surveyed the packed house and waved at me across the room to come stand by her.
I was enjoying the chorus' first number (Ryan is in it) when I realized that Nolan was not there.
Wasn't he supposed to meet me.....?
I texted him and he assured me he was almost there. Which, in teen-speak, translates into "I'm just leaving the place I'm at."
After the performances, my friend and I decided to take all the kids to eat at McDonalds. I was halfway to leaving when I realized...
I was missing a kid.
We'd have to wait for Ben to get home.
The men in white coats are very nice. I have my own private room, and the food is okay...