So, I am happy to report that, as expected, Phaedra is indeed brilliant and kind and sweet and wonderful. Her mother, however, while perhaps rather intelligent and extremely patient, can sometimes be found slightly lacking in common sense.
Friday morning, everything is running according to schedule. I get up, drop Bella off at preschool, return home and get Phaedra and Surrey up, ready, and out the door with Grandma by 9:00am for Bella’s preschool party. Rob and I leave the house by 9:20am to make it right on time for Phaedra’s 9:30am conference appointment.
We stroll up to her classroom door, where a small crowd of people are congregated in the doorway. At this point, my husband (who, admittedly, has me beat in the common sense department), realizes something is wrong. Not me. I’m thinking, “Huh. It must be like a group conference, where two or three sets of parents are scheduled at the same time!”, which WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT? “Mrs. Smith, Angela is so smart! Mr. Jackson, your Jennifer…not so much. And I don’t even know where to start with your kid, Ms. Lockwood.”
As the people head into the classroom, I start to follow them. Thankfully, Rob realizes the epic stupidity that’s going on in my head and grabs my arm, but not before I make eye contact with Phaedra’s teacher and give her a big “Hey, it’s me!” smile. He just looks at me and says, “Dude, what are you doing?” As I turn and start to form the thoughts needed to explain my cockamamie theory of what’s going on, my mind instantly realizes that the explanation I’m preparing to give makes zero sense. In the middle of my confusion, I look up and see a schedule of appointments posted next to the door. There is no 9:30am appointment. There is, however, a 9:00am appointment that has Phaedra’s name next to it.
I just stand there looking from the sheet, to my husband, to the classroom, and back to the sheet. My brain is still stuck in that confused stage where it can’t accept what’s going on, it just keeps insisting there’s some kind of mistake, because that’s how sure you are of your position. Therefore, my first reaction is to be pissed off. I take a seat in one of the tiny chairs in the hallway.
“What are you doing?”
“We missed it, man. Let’s just go.”
“No way. We’re here. That’s the time the teacher sent home on that note. I wrote down the right time on the calendar, I know it. I checked it last night.”
“So, what, we’re going to wait here and make someone else wait so we can weasel in and see her teacher?”
“Yes. Yes we are.”
Rob knows enough to just step away for a minute and let me put all the pieces together in situations like this. Slowly, I realize that oh shit, the whole reason I originally asked my mother-in-law to take Phaedra and Surrey to Bella’s preschool party wasn’t because the party and her conference were at the same time, but because I wasn’t sure how long the conference would take and I didn’t want to be late and miss the party. Meaning yeah, I wrote down the wrong time. We’re thirty minutes late to our first parent-teacher conference, and it’s all my fault.
“I think I did write down the wrong time.”
“Shit. I feel like I’m sitting here out in the hallway, and I got in trouble at school.”
“That’s exactly what is going on here.”
Our life is just so busy. It’s nonstop, no room for error, who’s-going-where, who-needs-to-be-picked-up-from-where-and-at-what-time busy every single day. Between two work schedules and four different school schedules to consider, I can only worry about the coming day’s events and schedule. Otherwise, I would lose my fucking mind trying to keep it all straight. So, I write everything out of the ordinary on the calendar so that I don’t miss important things like this. That sounds completely normal to most of the population, but for me, that calendar keeps me in control. When something goes wrong or pops up unexpectedly, I’m unsettled and out of control. Plus, I feel a deep need to get these kinds of things right and not come off like a total asshole. Because we’re really not total assholes, and her teacher should know that.
We finally see Phaedra’s teacher, who squeezes us in after the next (prompt) parents’ appointment. She graciously pretends that we’re not extreme fuckups, and explains to us what skills they’ve been working on this fall, and how great Phaedra is doing socially and academically. Which, of course we already knew, but it’s nice to hear confirmation from someone who’s not blinded by intense adoration and irrational annoyance.
When we get home, I check the calendar. Right fucking there, clearly written on the calendar, it says “9:30am — preschool party”, and, right next to it, “9:00am — conferences”. I WROTE IT ON THE GODDAMN CALENDAR AND STILL READ IT WRONG. I don’t even know.
Common sense < book sense.