What's Worse Than Forgetting to Pick Your Child Up After School?

You'd think that nothing could crush a child's precious little spirit more than his parents forgetting to pick him up after school, right? Try again. I've actually done that one before. It can be topped.

This week my husband and I forgot to bring our son to school. Yep. Sure did.

How does something like this happen, you might ask? Well let me tell you, it is not easy. You must truly be an overwhelmed, overworked, calendar-packed parent. You must be so ignorant in your domino-effect of assumptions that you honestly read between the lines, more than you actually read the lines (of, say, a school district email earlier in the week reminding of the academic calendar).

My son's school district doesn't schedule the half-days off once a week for faculty development that some schools do. Instead we parents are often faced with unpredictable days throughout the month, sometimes several of these random days in row, where school is not in session. Having these days are important so that teachers can participate in professional growth, I get that. I am someone who appreciates academics very much (obviously, I teach college classes). What I do not understand is how these random days are chosen.

For example, we are currently in the middle of seven possible school days where my son only has class on three of them. Well, not my son; he only had class on two of the seven days, which is where my story gets started.

We always struggle with childcare on days when my first grader is out of school. He can't attend the childcare center that my two preschoolers go to while I'm at work, so my husband and I juggle our schedules in order to watch him. We work half days, create our own bring-your-child-to-work days, and in a pinch, we occasionally use call-in-sick days. It all usually ends up being just fine, and my son seems to love going to work with us when that is his option.

Well this past week was strange. My son had a normal school day on Monday. Tuesday was his Valentine's Day party (of which I volunteered at), and then teacher/parent conferences were held on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was a professional development day for teachers. The school calendar clearly describes all of this for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Little did I realize that although conferences were on Wednesday, only the kindergarten classes were out of school on that day. First graders did in fact have school, even though we didn't realize it. Even though the calendar his teacher sends home in his backpack every night was marked in error.

So when Wednesday came around, we did our no-school-crazy-shuffle. My son went to work with my husband during the first part of the day while I taught classes, and then I picked him up from my husband at noon. As we were driving by my son's school on the way back to the house, I noticed several cars in the parking lot. I jokingly said to my son, "I hope you didn't have school today," and we laughed; we knew the teachers still had to be at the school for conferences even though the students did not.

When I got home I gave my kids their healthy Burger King lunch and while they were eating I sat down to check my email. At the very top of the list was a message from my son's teacher. She wanted to know if we were still coming to his conference later that evening, even though he was home sick for the day.

What?! Did my son have school? I thought he was out today?

Slight panic. I texted my husband. I emailed back the teacher.

Sure enough, my son was supposed to be at school. Ooops. He quickly gobbled down the hamburger I had let him get as a "no school" treat, I loaded the three kids back up in the car, and somehow had him to school by early afternoon.

In the end it wasn't a big deal. It was a little embarrassing that we had to go to my son's conference later than night and see his teacher. But we all laughed about it. My son actually felt kinda special I think. Sadly she admitted to us that we were the only parents that made this mistake.

So I'm not going to win any mom of the year awards anytime soon, and lately I'm pretty much failing at multi-tasking work, school and child rearing.

Our life is a crazy adventure sometimes. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Being a mom has definitely strengthened my sense of humor, that's for sure.

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