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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back to School Night

Parents will be familiar with the concept of "Back to School Night" where moms and dads go to meet their children's teachers.  At elementary schools this is often accomplished in an open house or multi-session format to accommodate parents with more than one kidlet attending.  In middle school, however, parents spend a couple of hours following the schedule of their child on an abbreviated clock, thereby hearing from each teacher.  Fortunately, although we have two kids at the school, we also have two involved parents.  Unfortunately, one of those parents is in California on business.


My #1 is mentally disabled, therefore I feel the need to be extra visibly concerned and involved in her schooling.  But #2 is a self-motivated learner, and if I don't make the effort to become informed, I get left out of the loop.  Being the fretter that I am, I spent several hours pouring over the two schedules in front of me, trying to meld them into one super-schedule which would give me optimal accounts of each girl's educational experience for the year.  I even emailed my oldest daughter's resource teacher for her advice on the matter.  The end result was a balanced product of four core classes of each daughter.  Not ideal, but under the circumstances, not half bad.

Unfortunately, it was a busy day.  Errands and an appointment in the morning, and a church activity, which I jointly lead, for the 8 & 9 year-old girls in the afternoon, finishing at 5:30.  Fortunately, I was prepared.  House was picked up, dinner was in the crock-pot.  Instructions for the evening were given to the older kids.  I arrived at the middle school at ten to seven.  

Unfortunately, nearly EVERY parking space was already taken.  Fortunately, after driving around the bus route to the rear of the school I found ONE spot on the curved driveway.  Unfortunately, I would have to parallel park, which I stink at.  Also unfortunately, this was one of several spots that a revolving sprinkler was hitting at regular intervals.

I pulled in.  I backed up to try to maneuver myself closer to the curb.  No change.  I am sure all of you good parkers are at this moment knowing exactly how I should have steered to get in closer.  Myself, after three backups and pull forwards, I decided to check the curb to see if I was close enough to call it a night.  Put it in park.  Opened the door.  Okay, not bad.  Grabbed my purse and class schedules.  Checked the sprinkler.  Enough time to run.  Locked the door.  Shut the door and ran for it. 

Unfortunately, over the noise of the sprinkler and the music playing (don't YOU function to constant background music in YOUR life?) I couldn't hear the engine running until I was to the back of the Suburban.  Engine running?  Seriously?  Unfortunately, yes.  Unfortunately, no AAA or "OnStar."  And there is no "fortunately" coming.  

Trying to fight off the panic that set in, I called Larry, who as you will recall is in California, to think for me.  I've never locked my keys in the car, let alone with it running.  He suggested I call his brother to look up the number of a towing service to come let me in.  My sister-in-law answered and kindly gave me several numbers to try.  Unfortunately, I had no pen in my purse, which I had noticed earlier in the week and had never remedied.  Fortunately, I had lipstick.  Try, however, writing legibly in lipstick.  Not as easy on a half sheet of paper as it is looks on a huge high school bathroom mirror.  Unfortunately, the first guy was an hour away.  Fortunately, the next guy was a little closer.  

So I waited.  I called my sister back to let her know I was okay.  I tried to call my husband back to let him know I was okay, but I got his voicemail.  I called my kids to check on them, because I felt like a dork just standing there.  All of that time and thought and energy and worry over which silly classes to attend.  All of that, just to stand there, missing them all, and wait.  Larry finally returned my call, and I cried.  I'd been holding it back, but when I heard his voice, that was it.  And the last thing I had wanted to do was cry.  

Fortunately, the guy had hurried as best he could and got there sooner than I'd feared.  He got me into my car quickly, wrote up a bill quite slowly, I paid and thanked him, and was off.  Unfortunately, I'd missed a full half of the night.  Fortunately, I was able to spend some one on one time talking about #1 with her resource teacher, with whom I was actually quite impressed.  In the end all was not wasted.  Fortunately, I feel pretty good about being back to school.

2 fishy comments:

Lisa said...

I love "Fortunately/Unfortunately" posts...I wrote one a year or so ago about a terrible day with Gabe. I'm sorry you had such a bad day, but I LOVED the post.

Kelly said...

Wow, what a night. The crying part actually reminded me of the time we were in the car accident together. I had remained calm while I was with you but once I saw my mom I lost it. Ok, so we were still teenagers, I think, but I know how you feel.