The dude called me from school to say he had baseball practice. The coach said they’d be done at 3:30, but he “always” finishes early (he knows this despite it being his first time) so he asked if I could be there at 3:20. The dude has a thing about not being picked up. If his ride is even a few minutes late he’s convinced they aren’t coming.
I’m not sure where this particular belief came from. I’ve never forgotten him. When he was little, he’d pester me about all the scenarios of a no-show and what he could do in each situation. Needless to say, he hates car pools. The only consolation for his lack of confidence in me is that he is even less confident of someone else’s mother. I guess he figures his father will notice that he’s missing.
I got caught up in writing and lost track of time. I had to leave to get the dude, so I had no time to get a book, or a coat, or anything else of the sort, or I would be late and all manner of chaos would ensue. At worst, I’d sit in the car for 10 minutes. I could handle that. I haven’t played Angry Birds in months.
I texted him at 3:25
I’m here! Parked near the gym.
I armed a slingshot with a bird.
At 3:45 I texted him again.
This is what I get for being on time.
It’s kind of cold out here.
At 4:00 I try again.
Getting colder. 3:30, Really?
Shortly after I send that text I see him exit the building with the rest of his team. Finally. Instead of walking towards the car, he’s heading towards the track.
I’m parked over here.
Where are you going?
No, come back. Please, come back!
He gets to the car at 4:20. I am a momsickle. A bored, angry, lost-an-hour-of-writing time momsickle. He is oblivious.
Hey? Really? “I’ve been sitting in the car for an hour. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t know when we’d be done until we were actually done.” And I don’t know when dinner is ready until I’m done cooking it. Oh wait. That’s sort of true. But he’s not cold when he’s waiting, just hungry, and he knows it’s at least imminent.
“You couldn’t text me? Don’t tell me you didn’t have your phone, because I saw you walking to the track with your backpack. All you have to do is reach in, get it and let me know it will be a while and I’d go to Starbucks.” That’s what we got him a phone for. He texts everyone but me.
“What I’m I supposed to do? Say, ‘Sorry coach, I need a minute to call my Mommy‘?”
Yes, dear son. That is exactly what you are supposed to do. So I ask him how he’d feel if I left him waiting for an hour. He’s nonchalant. “It would suck.”
Not “the world would end,” or “I’d call child protective services,” just “it would suck.” I want to say bullshit, but instead I say “That’s exactly what I’ll do next time this happens.” He knows that I won’t, but it makes me feel better.
The car ride is silent for the first ten minutes. He does not apologize. I know he’s gotten the message, however, so I ask about his day and we chat. When we get home, he reminds me that he has basketball practice in the evening. It’s too far to drive and come back, so I’ll have to wait.
“At least this time I won’t be sitting in the parking lot.”
Silence. No parents allowed at practice.
This time I’ll bring a blanket and a book.
Words by J. B. Everett