My husband is on vacation this week. I am not. I usually have two days off during the week, as I work all weekend. I wound up working a double yesterday because it was a holiday, so I was off today. Our plan was to catch an early movie (“Trouble With the Curve”), have lunch, and then go to our daughter’s field hockey game. We realized last night that the earliest showing of the movie was at 12 o’clock. This threw a small wrench in the works, as we would not be able to do lunch and a movie and still have time to feed the kid before she had to be back at school for the game.
We are nothing if we are not intrepid. We came up with a Plan B, which involved having breakfast and then going to the movies, which would make retrieving said kid from school, feeding her dinner, and getting her back to school fully digested prior to the start of the game possible. Like any well-planned military operation, timing and communication are crucial. If you don’t believe me, read up a little on Napoleon.
We’d adjusted the timing. The problem arose due to a failure with personnel in charge of communication. My daughter informed us at 7 AM that her ride wasn’t going to bother going in for the half-day today. Forget that she now had to be taken to school, which was annoying but, ultimately, ancillary to the larger problem that the news of the half-day now presented for our breakfast and a movie date.
I’m not “Mother of the Year”, God knows, but I usually keep track of half-days. I can read a calendar, for crying out loud! Turns out that this was an unplanned half-day that was announced last week. I’m so glad that the Administration chooses to send, what seem like daily, text messages regarding parking issues and fundraising deadlines, and yet, decided to leave us in the dark about the surprise half-day. Information regarding idling and new band uniforms is, apparently, far more important than notifications pertaining to 12:30 dismissal. Geniuses.
We opted to postpone going to the movie until Thursday, but decided we would still go to breakfast. As we were about to walk out the door, I received a voicemail from the attendance office at the school informing me that my child was marked absent by her homeroom teacher. As she was driven to school by my husband and is not a kid who would cut school EVER, I assumed that there had been some sort of mix-up or, possibly, mayhem.
I know her homeroom teacher personally. She is the parent of one of my daughter’s best friends. When I was unsuccessful in reaching the attendance department (“Voice mailbox full. Please try again later”, said the soothing robotic voice), I texted her homeroom teacher directly. I was confident that she would text me back telling me that there had been some sort of oversight and that she would take care of it. Instead, her return text only served to confuse (and concern) me more. She reported that my daughter had not “shown up” for homeroom and was, therefore, marked absent.
I knew she was there, but I had to get to the bottom of this mystery. And I had to do it quickly, as it was going on 10:15 at this point, and the absence would be noted on the “ineligible to play” list that is generated every day by the athletic department. Some of my daughter’s teammates have been caught in this web of red tape; I know from their experiences that once your name appears on the list, it takes far less time and fewer lawyers to manage one’s removal from the “No-Fly” list by Homeland Security, even if your last name is bin Laden.
I texted my daughter. It may have gone something like this: WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? YOU DID NOT “SHOW UP” IN HOMEROOM. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I TEXTED MRS. K AND SHE CONFIRMED THAT YOU HAD BEEN MARKED ABSENT. MY TEXT TO MRS. K WAS PRECIPITATED BY A MESSAGE FROM THE ATTENDANCE OFFICE. ARE YOU HAVING SEX IN THE STAIRWELL? I WAS ASSURED THAT THE WHOLE “SEX IN THE STAIRWELL” THING WAS JUST AN URBAN LEGEND. AT THIS POINT I DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE HAVING WHAT I AT LEAST HOPE IS PROTECTED SEX IN THE STAIRWELL, BUT I NEED YOU TO PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON AND GET YOUR ASS TO THE ATTENDANCE OFFICE AND STRAIGHTEN OUT THE ABSENCE THING BEFORE YOU GET ON THE “INELIGIBLE TO PLAY” LIST AND THE COACH KILLS YOU. PLEASE LET ME KNOW THAT YOU HAVE DONE THIS. OTHERWISE DADDY AND I HAVE REARRANGED OUR ENTIRE DAY FOR NOTHING. LET ME KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. IF I DON’T HEAR FROM YOU IMMEDIATELY I AM GOING TO ASSUME THAT YOU ARE EITHER CONCUSSED, STONED, OR HAVE A DEAD BATTERY. I SINCERELY HOPE IT IS THE LATTER. SEE YOU AT 12:30. LOVE, MOM. P.S. SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS. YOU KNOW ONCE I GET THEM ON I CAN’T TURN THEM OFF AND I HAVE NO TIME TO FUCK WITH THIS FOOLISH MALFUNCTIONING PHONE. I HAVE BIGGER FISH TO FRY RIGHT NOW, WHAT WITH YOU HAVING SEX IN THE STAIRWELL AND YOUR FATHER STANDING IN THE HALLWAY TAPPING HIS FOOT BECAUSE HE WANTS BREAKFAST. YOU KNOW HOW HE GETS WHEN HE’S HUNGRY!
Her response went something like his: Dear Mother of the Year,
For a smart woman u r tech stupid. How many times do I have to tell you it is the red arrow button that controls the CAPS. The phone is not malfunctioning, u r. It may b fucking with u tho. I would b if I were yr phone.
I am doing voter reg with Ms. V. You signed the slip authorizing this. She sent the attendance sheet late but she sent it. So you can cool yr jets.
I am still a virgin. I only give bjs in the stairwell for lunch money cuz my parents r cheapos. How else am I supposed to get a car? I do this on my own time usually b4 school. I would never miss homerm to participate in this activity cuz I know you would get the absent msg. This would alert u 2 my nefarious money-making scheme.
FYI I am sending this to notesfromyomomma.com. And on my blog. U r going 2b an Internet sensation. Put on some makeup. The news will b calling… Love, your “SMH” daughter. SMH, Mom, SMH. PS I have 2 go now and do my civic duty.
Yup. She is delightful, my kid. I have no idea how she became so snarky and disrespectful. No idea. This was certainly where my day took it’s turn for the better. After a less than stellar breakfast experience (it could have been improved if the waitress had written down the order, but she just “didn’t feel like it”— and my customers think they have something to complain about!), I figured that the text exchange would be the best part of my day, but it wasn’t. Neither was it getting my husband fed nor was it insuring that my kid got picked up, fed, uniformed up, and dropped off again. Nope. The highlight of my day was watching my kid kick some field hockey ass as her team managed to improve their record to 2-6. That was worth sitting on the cold, damp bleachers for two hours and possibly contracting pneumonia. Yes it was!
*photo credit: recreation.gmu.edu