In over thirteen years of parenting, I hit a new low on Monday.
I've been picking up and dropping off kids to and from school since before time began, or so it seems. Even before there was elementary school, there was preschool, and co-op preschool and places to be and things to do. All which went off without a hitch, for many, many years.
And then Monday happened.
Perhaps it was a combination of Monday and my advanced maternal age (37 *gasp*), I'll never know and it doesn't really matter. But happen it did.
Of course my husband was on shift at the firestation, which is where he always is when emergencies happen, like catching an oven mitt on fire or losing the family pet. I had been battling an epic migraine all morning so after I'd dropped off Katie and Wyatt at school, I decided to take my trusty Imitrex and lie down on the couch until my headache went away.
I got a comfy blanket.
I put the phone right next to me, just in case something important was going to happen.
And I set my travel alarm clock on the coffee table (or so I thought), the alarm set to go off 45 minutes before parent pick up for the morning kindergarten class, which lets out at noon.
And I fell asleep.
That was at 10am.
I woke up at 12:09pm.
Besides being completely flabbergasted that I was now late, I totally freaked out. I barely remembered to put on my flip flops before dashing out the door with my purse dangling precariously from my elbow. I drove way too fast to the school, 2 miles away, and flew in the double front doors, pattern marks on my cheek from the fabric on my sofa, utterly and hopelessly in complete panic.
Katie said casually, "Oh hi mom." Like this happens everyday.
I looked at the secretary and apologized.
"I am so so sorry," I stammered, "I can't believe I missed pick up."
"It's not a big deal." The secretary replied.
Not a big deal? Not a big deal? I'm only the worst mom on the entire planet and I'm not about to try and explain to you that oh, by the way, the reason I'm late is because the medication I took for my migraine, or the migraine itself (it's anyone's guess) conked me out so hard that I either slept right on through the alarm or didn't even turn it on in the first place. But if I try and explain all that to you, you're going to think I'm crazy with a capitol "C" and you probably won't even let me bring my child home because you'll fear for her safety. Oh, and by the way, my migraine is gone. Completely gone - so, um, yay for that!
"Do I have to sign her out or anything?" I asked.
"Nope, you're good to go." She answered, not even glancing at the couch marks on my cheek or the yoga pants I was wearing that really, I'd just been sleeping in for the past 2 hours.
I took Katie's hand and led her out the door.
Like it was no big deal.
But I'd never been more embarrassed in recent memory and I declared Monday an official day of parenting suckage when I explained the situation to my husband later that evening.
"I'm such a loser." I told him.
And of course, he told me that no, I wasn't a loser and that he was sure there were plenty of other moms who this had happened to but funny, I couldn't think of a single one. So I went to bed with a giant figurative letter L on my forehead and the title of worst parent on the planet.
And the worst of it all? The twisting of the knife in the fresh wound? Katie didn't even skip a beat. I was expecting a crumpled mess of a crying 6 year-old girl waiting in the office for her loser mother and instead there she sat like the fact that I was absent from the pick up line is something that happens every single day. And I know that I'm not always on time and it takes a miracle to get me someplace earlier than I'm supposed to be there (that's why people tell me to be somewhere half an hour earlier than they really want me there because that way they know I'll actually be there when they want me there), but I'm never late for my kids. Never.
Parenting. It's always an adventure.