Crossed Paths

I've seen her three days in a row now, as I leisurely walk back to my car.  My steps are light, relaxed with pride in how much my children love going to school.  I pass her on the sidewalk,  towing her son along after the last bell has rung.  Tension lining her eyes.

There is guilt there, and embarrassment, when she greets me.

Her boy is like mine--which is why I suppose they are friends.  Barely contained exuberance, energy straining to break free.  Loud laughs and loud conversations.  They cause a ruckus wherever they are.

Except for times like this when with shoulders sagging he rushes along with his mom.

I just want to tell her that it's okay.  She isn't the only one.

motherhood, mother guilt, working mom

Last year, I was the one rushing in after the bell with my daughter carried in my arms, while pulling my son along.  I was ashamed and of the phone calls from the principal and letters of admonishment nestled among the junk mail--copies of the letters sent home in my son's homework folder.

How much money does the school spend on postage, I wonder?  How many stamps are needed to browbeat parents into acknowledging what they already know?  I wonder if parents would still need to bring in 24 glue sticks per child, along with the other school supplies, if the cost of sending those "you suck for being late" letters were defrayed?

My son didn't smile those mornings either.  His tardiness merely one more reason he was always in trouble in school.

I struggled to drop my son off, then drop my daughter off ten minutes away in the other direction, before rushing into work late as usual.  I thought it would be easier to get to school in the morning after I quit.

I was wrong.

Our children don't always comply with our schedules.  The faster we want to go the longer they take.

I got the phone calls.  I got the 1 minute late dings on my son's attendance record.  I got the form letters in the mail. Yet none of it helped us get there earlier.  All that happened was that the grip of the anxiety we struggled against each morning squeezed tighter.  The rush to get from the parking lot to the classroom a bit madder.  The stress that weighed on my son's shoulders a bit heavier.

I know you are rushing off to work and cannot stop to chat.   I just wanted to say that you are doing the best you.  Stop worrying about it because you are not alone.


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