Enraged…In like a split second. Do I have a psychiatric diagnosis–some pathologic short fuse condition that I need to have treated? Or, are we all just one pair of socks from being the kind of parents we look down on, are ashamed of, and pray never to be?
Yes, I said socks.
This morning at 8:00 Hadley was still in bed. Her bus comes at 8:30. As I watched the clock I accepted the fact that I would need to drive her. It was ok. I love talking to her on the way to school and it buys her a few more minutes.
I finally had to wake her. I tiptoed into her room. She was covered up to her hair and perfectly still. I stroked her head softly and kissed her cheek until she rolled over and stretched and groaned a little.
Her pony tail from after bath last night had loosened. Her cheeks were beet red. She looked so comfy and tiny. I scooped her up and nuzzled and hugged and marveled at how only a little girl could smell so good first thing in the morning.
She was having a rough go this morning. Stretch. Back under the covers. Stretch again. Slowly, I pried her off the bed and hugged her some more.
“We have to get you dressed,” I said. “What do you want to wear today?”
“No. Not bell bottoms, skinny jeans.”
“Oh…ok, how about these?”
“No. Not those, those pockets are too small.”
“Well honey, you don’t have to put anything in your pants pocket..but ok…these?” She nodded.
Pants agreed upon we moved on to her top.
“Honey, I don’t know where your grey sweater is now.–I bet its in the wash since you have worn it every day since Saturday.”
“Please don’t cry…Let’s pick out another top!”
“No, babe, you cannot wear a tank top–its 17 degrees out.”
“Well technically that is a jammie top but….ah…who’s gonna know,” I laughed.
“OK! On to shoes!”
I laid out literally five different pairs of Uggs in all colors. I laid out her sneakers and her new Minnetonka pink boots (Christmas present–she LOVES them…Mom picked them out.)
No Uggs. Those jeans feel “funny” inside Uggs.
No sneakers. “IT’S NOT EVEN GYM!! WHY WOULD I WEAR SNEAKERS?”
Minnetonkas it is. On to socks.
Keep in mind by this point I have exhausted every mental pep talk. I have channeled every bit of Chris I could muster. I even contemplated a swig from that old beer on my night stand…I was getting revved up.
The socks pushed me over.
I handed Hadley pair after pair. “Too short…Too long…Feel funny…Too tight…The seam hurts. No Mom you can’t inside out those!..I like those socks but not with these boots…they slide down.”
By now, it is passed 8:30. She hasn’t peed, eaten breakfast, brushed her teeth, or combed her hair. If we leave a minute passed 8:42 she will get a tardy slip.
The next thing I knew, I was dumping her entire sock drawer out onto the floor and growling “PICK A PAIR OF SOCKS OUT RIGHT NOW!” Afraid her sobbing would cause me to say something I would not be able to retract and that would end up in her memoir someday, I stomped down the steps.
“When you have socks on, come down stairs..and be ready for a tardy slip.”
In the kitchen, I found myself shaking. How did I get so angry over flippin’ socks?? How did that beautiful girl go from having the most peaceful look on her face to looking downright frightened in a minute?
As I gathered bags and books and lunch, I tried to compose myself. I nearly had it until she came prancing down the steps in her Toms. –without socks. I started to tell her she was not allowed out without socks when I heard Chris: “Who cares?” he would have said. “It’s not like she’s playing outside..from car to classroom…choose your battles.”
Ok. Toms it is. I checked the clock: 8:45. If the wind was on my side and every light was green, she might avoid the tardy slip. Again, Chris–in my subconscious “I am pretty sure she can still go to Harvard if she gets an occasional tardy slip in first grade.”
I pulled her to me and hugged her. “I’m sorry I got so mad babe..it’s only socks.”
She smiled at me like nothing at all had happened. My heart felt warm. I strapped her in, pulled the car out of the garage, mentally accepted the tardy slip and the fact that I would have to go into the office to sign her in…dressed in my coat and PJs and slippers. It’s all good . I breathed.
I had recovered….What did I get so worked up over?
Then, from a silent back seat, a panicked shriek.
“MOM! We have to go back !!! Today is library!! I don’t have my books!”
As she pouted in my rear view mirror, only one thought came to my mind: Hope Harvard doesn’t have a policy on overdue library books.