When Skies are Gray

I was incredibly glad to shut my boys’ bedroom door tonight. I have the tendency to be chatty sometimes, but geez, those two don’t stay quiet for longer than a minute or two, and they often speak simultaneously, unless they’re heavily engaged in some strange and creative world that brings together batmobiles, batjets, and batpeople with alligators, birds of prey, race cars, soccer pros and garbage trucks (what, you’ve never played that game?)

That, or if my oldest is playing Angry Birds (a game I mostly curse, but for which I am occasionally grateful).

The day felt long by noon.

My eldest is generally very sweet and unperturbed when I drop him at school. Today, however, it was drizzly and cool as we walked down the road, and he complained of being cold. Always the antithesis of his brother, he actually likes wearing long pants and hoodies and warm pjs and wrapping himself in fleece blankets. Just like me.

He was wearing a long-sleeve cotton T and a rain jacket – just a shell, no warmth built in.

After a month of gorgeous sunshine-y spring, it’s now in the 40s and raining.

I forgot today there was a field trip. The kids were going to visit Portland Police Bureau’s mounted patrol – a pretty excellent opportunity, but they were going to spend the day on public transit and picnic outdoors after meeting the horses. And my kid is freezing because, ahem, his mother didn’t dress him appropriately.

I assured him I could rush out and bring back a warm hoodie in no time flat. He didn’t believe me. There wasn’t enough time before they headed out.

Not to worry, I said. Moms are magic. 

Clutching the hand of my youngest, I marched him down the hallway to Lost and Found. We have lost at least two, maybe three hoodies and jackets this year, and they’ve never shown up at Lost and Found. I had no shame in searching the rack, telling my three-year-old, we’re looking for Miles’ jacket! because we were. Kind of.

Red vest, size 7. No nametag. Big, but it would do.

Back in the classroom, Miles apprised the vest. It looked a whole lot like the one he misplaced earlier in the year, and he slipped it on beneath his raincoat.

Whew.

Then.

Shit.

A bunch of the kids had backpacks. Kindergarten policy doesn’t allow backpacks, and the students bring tote bags instead that all look alike.

Except on field trip days.

Miles recently procured a Star Wars back pack that is awesome and he loves it. Of course, it was at home.

More tears. He’s not cold anymore, but his mother forgot his backpack. Really?

I thought maybe, maybe, maybe I could make it back home and to school again with the backpack, but I told him it was a long shot. We live less than five minutes drive from school.

Off we went, pretending cheer as we left my sensitive boy at the door.

Home, I parked and rushed in to grab the pack and sped back to school.

The classroom was dark.

Back to the car. Max and I drove around the neighborhood because I knew the kids are waiting on a corner for the bus … somewhere close to the school.

I spied 29 five- and six-year-olds in colorful raincoats hanging out on a street corner and pulled over.

Max proudly delivered the backpack to his big brother. But where was the big smile we expected?

Tears flowed. Oh dear. This situation was not one that can be easily remedied. I waited ten or so minutes before extricating myself from my terribly sad child. Around him most of his classmates were squealing and talking and laughing. Just two stuck close to Miles. One, a tall sweet boy with dark, longish curls, and the other, a boy fairly new to the class, accompanied by his gorgeous young mom who spoke with a slight Spanish accent.

They watched him cry quietly and cling to me, thoughtful, not teasing. Others were oblivious to our tiny world of Sad. As I left, I asked the boys to keep an eye on Miles, and they were eager to say, yes, yes, we will. We REALLY like Miles, one said.

Meanwhile everyone else in the class was excited as they waited for the bus to take them downtown. Max and I climbed in to our car and went home.

I got him a snack and set him up with some books, toys and Clifford the Big Red Dog. My sister called, and I hung up on her to take a work call. Things were going well when my dog started barking and the doorbell rang multiple times.

What the *&*^%?

The delivery guys arrived 90 minutes prior to the four-hour window to deliver and move some furniture. I hit mute on my mobile and rapidly signed some paperwork, directing them where to put stuff. Put the dog in the back yard and called back into my meeting.

Meeting complete, I turned my attention back to my youngest who had quietly (miraculously) watched an entire Clifford video.

Stark naked.

Then he put his new rain boots on and announced he was ready to go to the store. I suggested he might put on some clothing, and he did so with minor fuss. We walked to the corner store and picked up a few things for the soup I would make later that day. We practiced using an indoor voice, unsuccessfully on his part, but I did quite well.

Home again. NAP TIME.

Back to work, a review of some materials and communications to make sure I didn’t lose all that had taken place during the meeting.

I picked up my eldest at 3:00 pm. He spotted me from across the playground, dropped his backpack and sprinted to welcome me with a crashing, wonderful hug. We talked about his day, the drop-off, the field trip.

Well, I’m still sad, Mom. I wanted you to come with me like the other Moms.

What did you like best about the field trip?

I got to pet the horses. They were really big, like gigantic. Oh and I met the police men. I didn’t see their guns, but *** did.

And the poop! There were small ones and big chunks of poop. Almost everybody stepped in it. 

Well, in the end he was most impressed by the piles of horse manure in the city, but at least he had found his smile.

And I guess tomorrow we’ll give the red vest back to Lost and Found.

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4 thoughts on “When Skies are Gray

  1. Susan Housholder says:

    OMG that was wonderful !!! Made me laugh outloud !!!

  2. paralaxvu says:

    Methinks therein lies a book about growing up with your boys;-)

    • skpadilla says:

      Oh that would be a dream come true. I’ve got a couple projects in the works, but they’re pre-children. And they’re basically just collecting dust right now. Good food for thought….

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