Friday Morning in Four Parts

I.

6:15 a.m. My eyes haven’t even opened yet. I can sense daylight through my eyelids, but I am not yet remotely interested in what time it is. Benjamin is lying next to me. I’m pretty sure he’s sleeping, but then he says,

“Mama, Grandma told me that saying ‘What the…?‘ is fine. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

Here we go again. Keeping my eyes closed, I say,

“Grandma probably doesn’t know the end of that sentence, so she would think it’s fine. But it’s not okay for you to say, because plenty of people DO know how to finish that sentence, and you’re too little to be saying it.”

“I’m listening to Grandma because she’s right.”

“No, I’d like you to listen to me because I’m your mother and I said so.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

I’d type out the rest of the conversation, but it’s irritating and redundant.

Notably, not even an hour later, Ellie peers into her cereal bowl and says, “What the…?”

II.

8:30 a.m. Benjamin and I are in the car, idling in the drive-through line at Tim Horton’s. He’s playing with his show-and-tell item, a skeleton of a Quetzalcoatlus, and is right in the middle of explaining why he needs a chocolate chip cookie. At that moment, out of nowhere, BAM! The lady behind us slams into my rear bumper.

Benjamin probably said, “What the…?” but I didn’t hear it. I pull into a parking space and exit the car. The perpetrator does the same, meeting me between the vehicles to inspect the damage.

I throw my hands up in the air, incredulous. “What was that?” I ask.

She looks at me sadly. “I’m so sorry,” she says. “I don’t know why I did that. I don’t know how it happened.”

My heart rate slows. Who really does know why, when they do something like that? It wasn’t like she did it on purpose. I look at her car and notice a little boy, much like my own, sitting in the back seat. I look for damage and there is very little. “Well, I’ve done plenty of things I can’t explain too.” She smiles. I reach out, give her arm a little squeeze, and suggest we just get back in our cars and get some coffee.

I slide back into my seat. Benjamin says, “Why did she do that to us?”

“She says she doesn’t know.”

“Oh. Well, she almost broke my Quetzalcoatlus skeleton.”

“Boy, that would’ve really stunk.”

“You’re right, Mama, it really would’ve.”

He said I was right about something!

III.

8:40 a.m. I finally make it to the window at Tim Horton’s. Everything about my order is correct, except the part where they downsized my coffee, ensuring that I won’t attain the appropriate caffeine dosage required to fully start the engine on my higher-level brain functions.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!

I mention this to the drive-through lady, and she is plainly uninterested in correcting the problem. “Oh,” she says, “that’s the size they charged you for. Sorry!” Then she adds, “Figures. Goes right along with how the rest of my morning is going!”

IV.

8:55 a.m. Benjamin and I arrive at his preschool. He hands me his Quetzalcoatlus skeleton model and says, “Here, Mama. Hide this behind your back so I can surprise my friends with it. My back isn’t big enough to hide it behind because I’m only little.”

(In case you’re wondering by now, a Quetzalcoatlus is a type of flying dinosaur. And I would be remiss if I didn’t explain that flying dinosaurs are actually called Pterosaurs, as Benjamin announces to anyone who will listen.)

I take the skeleton as he’s climbing out of the car. When I move my arm behind my back to hide it, I feel one of its wings catch on my shirt and then OMG the whole thing just collapses into a million pieces, spread out all over the parking space next to us. OK, so maybe it was only 10-ish pieces, but still, we’d been through so much already this morning, and now THIS.

Benjamin starts to panic. “Mama, all the pieces! They’re all over! We have to pick them up and put it back together! Hurry! Mama! Mama! Mama, mama, mama!”

We scramble to pick up all the pieces before another car comes to park in the space. The problem is, I don’t know how many pieces we should have, because I didn’t put the wretched thing splendid specimen together.

I dump what we’ve got into his booster seat and set about recreating it. After a few false starts, it goes together pretty easily. Benjamin thinks I’m a heroic genius.

“Thanks Mama! You did it! I can’t wait to show it to my friends!”

I tell him I’m not going to try to hide it behind my back again, and he sees the wisdom. We walk into his school, and as soon as his friends see the skeleton, they go bananas. He beams from ear to ear.

On my way out, one of the little girls in his class stops me to say,

“Hey, Benjamin’s Mama, you look really pretty today!”

I smile at her, thank her, and give her all the cash in my purse. No, I didn’t. But who could’ve blamed me?

QUETZALCOATLUS DETESTED FENDER BENDERS
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