Building or Breaching Trust?

We are in the waning days of school. Just two more “lunch packing days” left of school — that is, two and a half more days, not counting today.  The end of school is always such a crazy time.  This year seems worse than ever.  Honestly, I don’t think Russ and I ever really recovered from the stress of hockey season’s divide and conquer. I miss my calm life. I miss my husband. I actually miss camping, because it is calm and we just get time with ourselves without obligations interrupting things.

I feel like I have spent the last two weeks in my car.  Here’s the thing that’s really starting to get on my nerves. I am a punctual gal. It is important to me that my kids get to school on time, that I get to my appointments on time, and I pick them up on time.  Now, what’s on time? Within 2-3 minutes of the “time”.  I think that’s pretty good.

When I was a kid, I spent my middle school years in private school (which I hated) and for which my mother drove me to/from every day.  Most afternoons, I sat outside school waiting for my mother to remember to pick me up. I remember a few times when even the teachers had gone home and I was still there. This is before the days of cell phones. I just sat there and somehow figured she’d eventually remember me. I was the last child, after all.  Someone would do the accounting eventually and come get me.  The only thing that really bugged me, was that after picking me up late, Mom would then take me to the grocery store where she’d left her cart half-full in the middle of aisle 13, and then together we’d resume the shopping trip she cut-short to come get me.

This has been a trying year for me and my pick-up/drop-off skills. But, still, I’ve done good.  I have taken Olivia to two hockey practices a week — each at a different time and location, mind you, that ups the challenge factor — and two -three games a weekend each at different places without a hitch. My only mistakes were once getting her to practice an hour and a half early.  She was kindly scooped up by another hockey parent who called me and I came back for her. Olivia had big red puffy crying eyes. The other time was driving to New Hampshire for a game — it was her first, and I didn’t know we were to get there 45 mins early, so we got there just by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin and a bit white knuckly.

Since those two infractions, I have been on her watch list.  Soccer practice is twice a week at easy-peasy same location and schedule times. Still, I get the questions about do I KNOW what time practice is?  Do I KNOW where it is?  And then, “Mom, can I just check it on the computer?” Ugh. FINE!

I picked her up on Friday evening, ON TIME, and she hops in the car and says “you’re late!”. “No, I’m not!”. The other parents might have come before me, but I am ON TIME. Whereupon she suggests that I just come early so that when she is done she can go. Ahhhh.

Like I have nothing else to do but just wait for her.

She does have a sister. My other child.

Anyway, yesterday, her school’s fourth grade went to the community park for the day. They swam, played soccer, just all around did-no-schoolwork-but-it counts-as-a-school-day day. I had a choice to let her walk home from school or pick her up at 2:45 (the time school stipulated) at the park before the kids walked back to school. We agreed I would pick her up on my way to pick up her sister. No walking home, becuase I wouldn’t be there when she arrived.

At 2:30, I had just walked a mile and a half to the service station to get Russ’ car from the shop where his snow tires had been changed over to summer tires (it is June, after all) and I was just tickled that I was ahead of schedule. So, I decided I would drive over to the park early to be ready for Olivia, rather than sneaking in a shopping trip for teacher gifts.  So, while on my way to the park, who do I see walking along the sidewalk, but Olivia’s teacher and a gaggle of kids.  Sure enough, O’s there. She sees me, gives the nod to her teacher, and hops in my car.  My greeting, was:

“Hi Mom, you were late”

Ah, shit. No I wasn’t.

“Olivia, you guys must have left early because it’s 2:35 and you’re already almost back at school. I wasn’t supposed to be there until 2:45!”

Never do I ever get a break from that kid.

Then, back at home after picking up the sister from school, I play the answering machine messages. The first one is from Olivia, calling from the park, using her teacher’s cell phone:

“Hi mom, its me, Olivia, can you pick me up at school because you’re late and we are leaving now”

I can hear her voice breaking starting with “school” and I can hear a sniffle by the time she gets to “leaving”.

I make immediate eye contact with Olivia as we are both listening to the message. She just nods back at me with a smug, yup, you did it again mom, you messed me up. And her face gets a little red, like she might cry again.

Honestly, I cannot figure why this kid has it in for me.

And oh, lucky me, we had the whole “what time is soccer practice, where is it, are you sure, is it pictures day, are you sure, can I check myself? gig play out just an hour later as we prepped for soccer practice.

And, I washed her uniform before practice, because I knew it was picture day, and all I got was a “ah, Mom, you know the shirt is still wet”.

Really? Too f*cking bad!

Today, my dear 4th grader doesn’t want me to come to the school barbeque.  But the thing is, if all her friends parents show up and I do not, she’ll be dissappointed in me. If none of them show up and I do, I’ll be embarrassing her.  In the end she says, “Just do what you want, Mom”

I figure her insecurity about me being where she wants me when she wants me must stem back to something.  Russ, in his eminently helpful way, suggests that it goes back to her day-care days. Me dropping her off. Him picking her up. Anxiety about our being there.

Nice.  I don’t think that’s it. But thanks for the sucker-punch, Russ.

Today’s agenda:

Shop for teacher gifts/father’s day/birthday gift for Russ
Haircut for me
Run for me
Lunch date w/O?? Not sure
Soccer practice for O 5:30 @ TreeFarm field

Still to happen this week:
Four Soccer Games
Four Hockey Games
One Hockey Party
Father’s Day & Russ’ Birthday
Last day of school
Teacher gifts
Field Trip for Other Daughter
Ice Cream Party for Other Daughter.

Really, Olivia doesn’t know how lucky she is to have a compulsively scheduled mother.

I might need a drink tonite.

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