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Daughters

This Is Why I Consider Myself Lucky–And Why I’m Always Running Late

Red street light

Today I woke up at 6:45 to take my son to his before-school STEM class, which I love because he loves it but which I also hate because it requires us to give up 20 more minutes of sleep.

I took the opportunity to wake up my daughter for the first of many times, on my way out the door, and woke her three more times when I got back, yelling the words, “Please don’t fall asleep in the bathroom,” from the hallway. Things you think you probably won’t say to a 12-year-old who never slept for the first five years of her life, but who will now grab six extra minutes of sleep sitting straight up on the bathroom floor if I don’t hand out a warning. So, now I say those words every damn day.

I handed out vitamins and cereal and my husband and I did espresso shots at the kitchen island before I took husband and daughter to station and middle school, stopping home quickly to wash my face and write back to my web designer who was up ‘til the wee hours of the morning tweaking little, tiny things no one but me will care about when my new book comes out in March.

I went back to the elementary school for the Colonial Fair—taking a mindful minute to check out my kid in the tripod hat we had picked up on a trip to the Tea Party Museum in Boston two summers ago—snapped a few pictures of his friends and their dioramas, and left in a hurry to get colonial kid in blacksmith costume to GI appointment in Mineola because there have been nine different viruses circulating around this town, and ye olde blacksmith has gotten all of them.

After waiting one hour for the kind doctor to tell us we needed Benefiber and bloodwork, we drove straight to New Hyde Park, a town somewhere between my town and the town next door, but I don’t totally understand in which direction it is because I cannot shake the Pennsylvania out of me, no matter how hard I try.

We were going to get blood work, only to have seven minutes to find the lab in a circular, four-story medical building before the lab closed for lunch at 11:30 a.m. The kid and I were basically contestants on the Amazing Race for about four full minutes and it was exhausting and glorious when we won, walking in when they were still open for business and greeted by a downright cheerful technician. Got the blood drawn, headed back to Port where we picked up a sandwich for the kid to eat in the car, stopped by the house for his piano book and basketball shoes before dropping him back at school in time for whatever colonial cleanup had to be done by this blacksmith on the lam.

I grabbed a quick bite on Main Street with a good friend who said she would pick up my son after school and take him to piano because I could not be in three places at once. But I could actually be in two places at once, so I did a nice little phone interview from my car with a town paper (for the new book!) on my way to grab middle school kid a little before dismissal so I could get her to her prosthodontist appointment in, you guessed it…New Hyde Park.

She has a missing front tooth, this kid—as in permanently missing and we are halfway through the grind of getting a fake one to complete her tween-age smile. We spent an hour and a half there, with me writing to my publisher and organizing some other odds and ends from my phone in the waiting room. Meanwhile I was leaving other kid to sit and read a book at music school during the half-hour after his lesson in which I was driving back at warp speed to get him. I hustled because I have flashbacks of my mom skidding to a halt in front of the temple because she was (chronically) late for Hebrew school pickup—and skidding adds excitement to the anxious mix of feelings kids have when they sit on the curb at dusk.

We grabbed fast food for my daughter because she needed to eat before dance, we went home, she ate, we tried on summer clothes that don’t fit because we are going to Florida in three days and everyone has grown several inches—them taller, me wider—and hurried off to another dear friend’s house who would take my kid to and from dance in yet another next town over.

I stopped by still another friend’s house on the way back to pick up a book my littlest child is dying to read and here I am, typing it all up before I go back to Main Street to pick up husband from train, kid from dance, dinner from restaurant—typing it up so, I will always remember that some days are have to days and some days are get to days and the difference between the two is luck, basically.

And today, for me, was a get to day, because I am so lucky. I am lucky to have a car, lucky to have health insurance, lucky to have money in the bank to pay for a fake tooth not covered by insurance, and money left over for takeout and Benefiber, too. Lucky be a stay-at-home mom, lucky to be a work-at-home mom with a creative career that allows me to have a creative life, lucky to have friends who pick up my slack, and kids who keep a book tucked into their backpacks because they know that if there are 25 traffic lights between them and me—and I am already running half an hour late—all of those lights will be red.

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