It is Friday morning and we have all been in our intricately detailed fall routine of…
“Rise, complain, school/work, sports-sports-sports, home, complain, eat, clean, school/work homework, complain, sleep, repeat”
…for almost two weeks, which is generally when we finally get in the groove and think maybe we can handle being in a lot of places at once with a lot of stuff left undone in the other place we were just at…I guess it’s not so much a groove…it’s more like finally just going numb…
And it’s not just us adults who struggle with the fall schedule. One evening, I arrive home (after kid hauling home, kid hauling sports, back to work for a couple appointments, kid hauling home again) and notice that little 10 year old David is wandering glazed eyed down the hallway in just his underpants. It is 6:30 pm. “Why don’t you have any pants on?” I ask.
“It just seemed like a lot of effort” is his reply and I nod in understanding and leave him to wander some more as I go in search of wine and something to make for dinner which also seems like a lot of effort.
So normally at the end of the two week mark, we raise our glasses, cheer, if not a little listlessly and count the days left until Christmas Vacation.
But not on THIS Friday because it is the 13th and I have been leery of this day since I was sixteen and got pulled over by the police on Riverside Ave, where I was told explicitly NOT to go (that was where the trouble (and fun) was back in my day) and received a ticket for expired license tabs. The ticket of course noted exactly where I was and the time: Riverside Ave, 11:05 pm, (five minutes past my curfew). Then, knowing I was screwed anyway, took my friends to the store to buy some munchies and was caught LIVE on CAMERA as we were leaving the store at 11:45 pm by the local news station that was doing a piece on Friday the Thirteenth:
“Tell us, Heather: how was your Friday the 13th?”
“Well, first I would like to say ‘Hey Dad! I can explain…’”
Nothing really bad has happened since that one Friday the 13th. But this is because I am very, very careful on these days.
So this Friday, I place myself in the role of “psychic air traffic controller” trying to mentally maneuver all of my children safely from point A to point B all day long while at the same time saying and doing as little as possible so as not to risk any potential personal danger.
I keep my mouth shut when Mitchel asks his dad first thing in the morning “Can a squirrel really get in your pants?” Smart “know everything dad” answers: “Only if you put one there.” I scan the back yard for rabid squirrels that indeed could ON THIS DAY get in Mitchel’s pants (or be put there) but refrain from mentioning this possibility. There are enough ideas in this particular eight year old’s head.
I keep my fingers on both hands crossed, whispering “safe, safe, safe” until I receive a text from Maria saying Dillin (second born son, who five days after getting his license crashed his car into his BROTHER’S PARKED TRUCK when he was pulling around the corner in front of our very own house) has gotten them safely and on time to G-Prep. I should have driven them but changing routines is a bad idea on Friday the 13th.
Carefully driving the three little boys four blocks to their school (we would have walked if we were not so burdened by helmets, cleats, pads, football pants, lunch boxes, backpacks and a kid who likes to chase squirrels), I try hard to not curse at the moronic parents who are NOT obeying the CLEARLY established drop your kids out the RIGHT side of your vehicle NOT the LEFT rules, who are thereby then risking not only losing a car door but possibly their CHILD from equally moronic parents who are driving too fast in the drive lane, one in particular nearly crashing into ANOTHER moronic parent who has both PARKED in the DRIVE lane AND is letting kids out on the LEFT. As I mentally steer all the little scampering children out of the way of moving vehicles (it feels like a video game) I touch Mitchel’s lucky blue and white bracelet three times to counteract my bad luck swearing, say a Hail Mary, kiss the boys and shove them all out the RIGHT side of my vehicle thinking that one must NOT gloat about ones superiority on Friday the 13th.
School passes uneventfully; work passes uneventfully; football practices happen with no injuries. Dan finds his school uniform shorts that he lost the day prior. Grant finds a twenty dollar bill in the grocery store parking lot. No rabid squirrels get in to Mitchel’s pants. We are almost free and clear. But then we have the varsity football game to contend with, which is clear across town. We have the option of watching it on television or driving out to it. We opt to attend, in case of injury. I keep my fingers crossed for the drive there and during the entire game, alternately whispering “safe,safe,safe” and “kill, kill, kill!” to all our boys on the field, but mostly to my nose-guard Dillin. We win. Five of us get home safe. During the drive home my fingers are still crossed: “safe, safe, safe”. I mentally steer Maria to her sleepover and Dillin to his what ever it is he does with football pals: each are in separate vehicles, really out of my control, but I still keep my fingers crossed and these fingers are TIRED but eventually they each send me texts: “SAFE!” I am almost through the day when a text comes in from oldest son Duncan, who has informed me that he is hunting coyotes in an undisclosed location, but is “safe”. It is 11:59 pm and what feels like a mini-aneurysm happens in my brain. It is not nice to mess with a superstitious mother and he will pay. I collapse into bed, letting my fingers uncross at exactly midnight. I am tired and must leave the coyote controlling up to God, just for a little while.