“Monkeys, do you have your lunches?”
“Yes!” they cried out in unison.
“Let’s go! Backpacks on, grab a sweater, and make sure you have your lunch packed away in your backpack.”
After dropping off Bella and Iza at school to make an 8 am call where I had to present, I drove off guilt ridden that I was leaving them on campus so early in the morning – read 5 minutes earlier than usual. I coaxed myself to shake it off, to remember that they are loved and well-cared for little girls who can handle an additional 5 minutes away from me.
As I pulled into the parking lot at work and reached for my purse in the backseat, my eyes focused on a cute black tote with a panda face smiling at me – Iza’s lunch bag.
I ignored it, ignored the fact that the school would be calling me soon to notify me, ignored the fact that I had 2 minutes before the call started, and dashed up the stairs in my stiletto heels, click-clacking my way to my office where I quickly dialed into the conference call in time to hear the global roll call.
I sent a quick text to my fiancee ‘Iza 4got lunch will drop off after call in case school calls’ as I pulled up my notes for my presentation and silenced my cell phone.
As I was introduced, my phone buzzed with Iza’s school’s phone number flashing at me. Bad Mom! it read. As I ignored the call and it rang again it screamed, Terrible Mom!, before I ignored it again.
I placed my hand on my chest and leaned forward into my computer screen to calm my nerves and the chatter in my brain. I stuck to my script a lot closer than I meant to and probably came off sounding like a robot dictating an essay (thank God I wrote it out and emailed it to myself the evening before!). As soon as the call was over I got a couple of encouraging notes from colleagues congratulating me on a good presentation which I really appreciated. I chose to ignore my internal questioning if the praise was deserved or not, and sat back and appreciated the kind words.
I waited a few minutes in case anyone followed up with any questions before I called the school back and apologized for ignoring their calls (I’m not a terrible mom, I promise! I have this thing called a J-O-B which I’m trying to make into a C-A-R-E-E-R), grabbed my keys, cell phone (work lifeline) and ran to my car. As I pulled into the school 8 minutes later (I strategically live a short distance from my life’s priorities: the girls’ school and work) and dropped off Iza’s lovingly packed home cooked meal at the front office, I took a moment to smile (laugh at myself).
My mother would have kicked my ass if I had forgotten my lunch at home and had the gall to have the school secretary to call her at work and ask her to drop everything to bring it to me. I started laughing out loud at the absurdity of the thought. My mother never packed lunches. She was too busy working as a grill cook an hour away in LA traffic for a 5 AM – 2 PM shift on her feet. Her J-O-B did not allow the flexibility to “drop by” my school to deliver a home cooked meal. I never wanted to be a nuisance to this mother of 5 whose idea of a better American life necessitated an additional job on the weekends as a cashier to afford the mortgage payments.
I smiled at the thought of my mother who continues to inspire me with her strength and will to move forward in life. I smiled at the thought that I seem destined to feel guilty throughout life. Guilt of being a nuisance as a child to hardworking parents and guilt as a mother for not predicting every minute need that my children may have. I smile because I wouldn’t take either of those experiences away – my childhood nor the precious childhood that I shape for my girls.
Having it all? I say yes, one crazy (but well planned) day at a time.