Friday, September 11, 2015

Do You Go Back Home for Forgotten Homework?

I was standing in the school office with a plastic bag of just-purchased gym clothes in hand. Another mother eyed my bag and gave a knowing little smile. What was she thinking? Was it, "I've been there, rescuing my forgetful child," or "Look at this mom, hand-holding her middle school child!"?

The other morning, as I was dropping off my older son in car line, he realized he forgot his gym clothes for P.E. I'm usually in the Deal with the Consequences camp, so I told him I would not be going home to get it for him.

"I'll get a demerit!" he pled.
"I'll have to do a worksheet while the other kids get to play!" he exclaimed.
"Pleeease go home!" he begged.

But, going home would be a 45 minute round trip. And, selfishly, I had a class at the gym starting in 25 minutes. "I don't have time," I told him.

I pulled away from the school with mixed emotions. I felt like I'm always tough on him and expect a lot from him. And he's still getting used to all the newness of middle school. I felt his disappointment that I wasn't going to save him this time either. But I really didn't want to drive 45 minutes and miss my class.

Then it occurred to me that there was a Walmart down the street, five minutes away. I turned the car that direction and ran in and picked up the cheapest pair of shorts and t-shirt I could find. I was out of there for under $10 (sometimes I actually love Walmart) and I still had 10 minutes before school started.

He would be so surprised that I came through this time! But, I couldn't let him think I'm always going to get him out of his blunders. I was wrestling with these thoughts in the office, waiting for my son to come meet me, when I noticed the other mom.

Not that I really cared what she was thinking. Heck, she could have been looking at me in my gym clothes wondering if I was actually going to the gym or just dressing the part. But in my mind, she was judging me (as I was judging myself) for saving/enabling my son.

My forgetful child came through the door and saw me. He knew I wasn't pleased with having to bail him out, but we exchanged a small smile as he took the bag. "I'm not doing this again," I said. "Okay," he said,  "thanks."

To tell the truth, I felt good about helping him out this time.

And then he said, "You didn't have to come back. My friend was going to loan me his extra gym clothes. Bye!"