It’s the end of another busy day and we are winding down at our house. That’s usually when it happens. If you’re a parent of a school aged child, I’m sure you’ve been there plenty of times too. It’s the announcement that comes way too late, and way to nonchalantly to suit its true impact. In the newsroom we would call it burying the lead.
“Mom, I need an empty hand soap bottle and 25 eight inch straws for school tomorrow,” my son announces.
For a split second my brain tells me to ignore it and just go on about my evening. But instead, the sensible me takes over.
“What?” I ask, trying to process the odd request.
“I need it for a project at school.”
“And how long have you known you need these items?” I ask knowingly.
“I don’t know, a couple of weeks maybe,” is the reply.
And so, I launch into the “being responsible” lecture that he’s already heard and filed away plenty of times before.
“Sorry,” is the simply reply.
And so, we are off on a wild goose chase to find and empty a soap container at one of the sinks in our home. Jake is instructed to go take a shower and use up the remainder of the bottle. The straws, unfortunately, will take an early trip to the store before school drop off at 8 a.m.
I realize I could choose to allow him to fail and hopefully send a more memorable message. But I also realize that he suffers from that middle-school-brain-syndrome that all tweens go through which renders them virtually mush minded for several years. So, so many mind, body and soul changes all wedged into a tiny window of time.
And so, I take pity again, and although grumpy, drive him to make the required purchases and drop him at the door with an “I love you” just like every other morning. With that, another crisis averted, another unexpected entry on my to-do list is check-marked done and all that’s left to do is wonder when the next emergency will arise before the end of the school year.