That’s E’s favourite phrase when things don’t go her way. I’m pretty sure she got it from me.
E is doing online learning with her Montessori school. As part of the online program, I have a short meeting with the teachers once a week. The only problem is: I’ve never attended. Not once. I keep forgetting because the meeting time is in the afternoon, by which point I’m usually eyeballs-deep in something with the kids. It’s been hard to remember.
Last time I missed the meeting I wrote a profuse apology to the teachers and assured them I’d be setting a reminder on my phone so that I wouldn’t stand them up again. They thanked me, then asked if we could switch this week’s meeting to Friday. Sure, I said, and diligently set an alarm on my phone.
Today is Friday (for the next two hours, anyway.) Mr. December and I covered a lot of ground during our P.D. day today. We made some decisions about summer camp, Hallowe’en, and screen time limits; we worked independently on school assignments for the next two weeks; I rejigged some of the magnetic schedule boards; and we made a list of all the things that need to be done around the house.
I’m sure that when normal people make that kind of list, they sit on the couch or at a table and think of things, then write them down. Not Mr. December. We did a walk-through of the whole house, bottom to top, checking each room to see what might need to be done. It was a bit anxiety-provoking for me—five pages of “to-do”s, most of them in my wheelhouse. And somehow the list never gets shorter. Maybe the items get smaller (fix N’s curtain instead of window coverings for all bedrooms) but the list always seems the same length, if not longer. As E would say, “Oh, come on!”
It was sunny and unseasonably warm today, so we decided to take a walk to clear our heads. Wanting to be fully present with Mr. December, I opted to leave my phone at home. We wouldn’t be gone that long, and I’m just not important enough that I have to be reachable at all times. So when my phone chimed to remind me of today’s 4:05 meeting with E’s teachers, I was a kilometre away from it. I didn’t check it immediately on returning home, either, so it wasn’t until 4:35 that I logged into my computer and noticed the meeting on my calendar. I had stood E’s teachers up. Again.
I can’t just apologize profusely and reassure them that I’ll really be there next week, can I? That was fine the first three times, but at this point I’m not sure why they’d believe me. I don’t even know if I believe me. I mean, sure, the intention is there, but even with a reminder on my phone I managed to miss the meeting. It’s like the universe is conspiring against me. Should I give up and just communicate with them by email?
Of course not. I’ll set up three alarms next time so that I’m reminded every hour for three hours leading up to the meeting. I’ll send the teachers a confirmation email that morning. I’ll write a reminder on a post-it and stick it to my monitor. I’ll tell Mr. December and the kids about it so that they can remind me too. And if, by some perverse chance, I manage to miss another meeting, then I’ll be justified in throwing my hands up in the air and yelling, “Oh, come on!” …and probably a few choice words after that.
Let’s just hope that E doesn’t adopt any of those phrases. That could be… awkward.