I had to laugh at myself about this one.
A few days ago, I had a very busy morning. My plan was to drop Evan off at his once-a-week learn and play group at 9:30 AM. Faith likes to help out at the play group, so she went along. Then I had to drive across town (10-15 minute drive) and drop Hope off at a math tutoring session. Finally, I had to go to Meijer to get groceries, and my daughter Joy would come along with me. After all that, I would reverse my steps and pick up Faith and Evan at 12:30 PM.
Now, I have never found it difficult to keep track of my 4 children. . . .until that day.
You would think that after 20 years of living with my adult self, I would have a better estimation of how much time it takes me to complete routine errands. Wrong. I often plan to get 3 things done in the space of an hour when I should KNOW that I will only be able to accomplish one. I often tell my husband that I have to make a "quick" run to Meijer - "I really don't have to get much this time." - and he knows I will be back in 3 hours. He doesn't even bat an eyelash.
Well, on Thursday, after dropping Hope at her tutor at 10:00, I decided to make a small detour (5 minutes) on the way to Meijer so I could drop off a ton of donations at the St. Vincent de Paul store, mainly so I could make room for the groceries in the back of the van. But then Joy and I decided to make a quick run inside because she wanted to shop for Hope's birthday and she only had $4.50 to spend - better to try to find something at a thrift store on that budget.
So, of course, it took longer than we expected in St. Vincent. We made it to Meijer by 11. Joy still hadn't found something for Hope, so we had to look in every toy aisle, clothing aisle, and the jewelry section before she found something. I must have uttered the phrase, "Hurry up, we don't have much time," about 100 times. It didn't help. Finally she picked out what she wanted, and then it was on to groceries. At 11:30 AM. I had a LONG grocery list. My parents were coming into town on Friday for Hope's birthday weekend. I had to get it all done.
At 12 Noon, I was almost finished. In my mind, I was still thinking I had time. Oh how foolish. At 12:05, I got into a checkout lane. With 3 people in front of me, I was making friendly banter while I was becoming increasingly aware of how much time I didn't have left.
I exited Meijer at 12:20. Got the groceries in the van and got in the driver's seat at 12:25. Now, remember - 10 minutes back to the tutor to pick up Hope and then 15 minutes back across town to pick up Evan and Faith at 12:30. Yeah. . . you do the math.
I called the secretary where Evan was having his play group and asked if she could possibly arrange for Evan to get another ride home. Much to my relief, she called back quickly saying Evan was taken care of.
As soon as I hung up, Joy shouted, with tears in her voice, "What about Faith???" At that point, I broke out laughing while Joy was panicking, thinking her precious little sister would be left behind. I was not laughing at her - I was laughing at myself because I had honestly, completely forgotten about Faith! Yes, what about Faith? I knew the woman who was giving Evan a ride home only had room for ONE child besides her own.
So, I had Joy call the secretary again. Could she please find a ride for Faith, too? At this point, I really was feeling like a moron. She called back while I was inside talking to Hope's tutor - of course, this wasn't a quick in-and-out either because I had to get the scoop on what Hope had learned, etc. Joy came in and reported that Faith had a ride, too.
I don't remember the circumstances, but somehow we managed to call the secretary one more time and my darling daughter Joy, being infinitely concerned for her siblings' well-being, asked her, "Could you please make sure they get home at the same time?" I shouted from the driver's seat, "Joy, Shut Up!!!" Not the kindest thing to say, but this lady was bending over backwards to cover my a$$. She didn't need an 8-year-old telling her how to do it.
Well, we all arrived home safely. Myself with 2 children, groceries and birthday presents. Evan with Mrs. K and Faith with Mrs. Q. At least I managed to get home before them. After many profuse apologies and gushing thank-you's, all was well. And I really needed a nap.