I seem to have a bad habit of forgetting my kids. I mean, it's not like I've ever left my baby on the top of the car strapped into a carseat or anything, but I've definitely "forgotten" them on a few occasions. Like, one time I was just about to head out the door to pick them up from school. I was putting a bottle of salsa away in the fridge when I dropped it. The bottle cracked open and salsa went flying everywhere - the floor, counters, cabinets....it was a mess! I had to clean it up real quick because I didn't want the dogs to lick it up while I was gone and barf up salsa later. As a result I "forgot" the kids and a neighbor called me asking did they need a ride home? (I took her up on it!). Another time it was a snowy afternoon. The kids arrived off the bus to falling snow and were SO excited about it all. In the hubbub, I forgot to pick up Hannah from safety patrol at school. Luckily, my good friend Peggy was able to pick her up for me. But the worst of all was a couple of summers ago when I completely forgot to pick up Arlie at soccer camp! I had a bunch of kids here (daycare) and her camp ended at 12:30. At around 1:20, Hannah said "Where's Arlie?" and I had that sudden, gripping panic when I realized she had not been picked up, but worse, had not called! I had all sorts of crazy thoughts run through my mind as I raced to pick her up, just five minutes from the house. When I got there, she stood alone on the soccer field (but mind you, there were plenty of parents and staff still milling around) and she had been crying. I asked why she didn't tell her counselor that I was late picking her up and to use the phone. She said they were having a staff meeting and she didn't want to interrupt! So, today, I, once again, forgot to pick Arlie up from safety patrol. I'm generally a few mintues late, because I'm just not used to the routine.........Harrison rides the bus home and I'm so used to the kids arriving home by bus that I always forget until the last second. Usually Harrison arriving home without Arlie is what clues me in and by then I'm ten minutes late to pick her up. Today I was twenty minutes late and there she sat, a child who now possesses a cell phone and she did not even call me! She said "I wasn't worried, I knew you were coming!" Yeah, I'd come at some point. I guess eventually the staff would have called me when they wanted to go home. Geesh. Why can't I remember to pick up my kids?
I think the answer is multi-fold. For one thing, I have four kids to keep track of, so that allows for some margin of error. For another, I get used to a routine and anything that puts a crimp in it throws me off (but, really, you'd think by this time I'd be used to it!). Then, I often look at the clock, think "Oh, I need to pick up (insert child's name here) in a few minutes" and then get busy doing something else so that by the time I look up again, a LOT more time has passed than I thought. The worst part is when I realize I'm VERY late to pick them up and I have that panicky feeling that something horrible will have happened in the time they stood unsupervised and alone someplace. Hayley almost never lets me forget, though. I will say "I'm on my way" and 3.2 seconds later, she's texting me "where ARE you?". I told Arlie she better start learning to text me when it's time to pick her up so I can at least get out the door. Otherwise, I might just get busy and forget her again! Poor kid, she's racking up evil stepmother stories to tell on me. At least it's not as bad as what happened last time she came home from Spokane. Her sister, Shelby and her boyfriend Nick dropped Arlie at the airport. The rule with unaccompanied minors is that you have to stay at the gate for ten minutes after the plane taxis away, in case it has to come back for any reason. Well, Nick and Shelby left too soon and wouldn't you know it, that was the ONE time Arlie's plane had to return to the gate for mechanical problems. They had to get a new plane and the flight left much later. Arlie had to stay in the company of a flight attendant the whole time. Let me tell you, I was freaking out! I'm so glad she had a cell phone this time. It was the first time she's flown that she had one. At least we knew she was safe.
Still, I really need to get better at remembering to get my kids on time! This whole safety patrol thing has thrown me off kilter and for some reason I can't seem to remember to pick her up on time. At least I've never completely forgotten her like what happened to my ex-husband. On a family trip, his large family took two cars. Dad thought Mom had Doug, and Mom thought Dad had Doug. Truth is, Doug was hiding out in the friend's house they were visiting. An hour down the road, Mom and Dad pulled their respective cars over for a pit stop and guess what? No Doug! It was a frantic drive back to the house (and before cell phones or any way to contact the friends) before they retrieved their youngest child. Oops!