Wednesday, October 05, 2005

No "Mom-of-the-Year" award this year...

All it takes is one missed step as a parent, to make you realize how important your role is in your kid's well-being. And, that realization is quite scary actually.

I debated to not tell this story, mainly due to the embarrassment and self-anger I feel about it. But, it was a pretty memorable moment, even if it wasn't a happy one.

Yesterday was a nicer day outside. The air was a tad cooler and you didn't feel smothered by the notorious Houston humidity. We had made plans for my son to ride his bike, stopping on the way to pick up a favorite classmate, who happens to live on our bike route to school. We had a lovely ride, my daughter in her bike trailer in back, me on my bike. His friend's mom came too and on the way back we had a nice chat.

After getting back home, I chose to not go work-out at the gym and instead put my muscles to work around our house. I've been very consistent about my working out for the past few weeks, and I thought my toddler could use an at-home morning to play while I played catch-up myself. Later, we made our weekly run to the grocery store and then back home for her lunch and nap. The day went quite smoothly and I was thinking to myself how wonderful it was that I'd gotten all this stuff done and still had a few minutes "veg" time before picking up my son on the bus.

Grabbing my keys to walk to the bus stop, the phone rings. On the other end was my son, hysterically crying and upset. My brain came rushing back to me from the fog it had been in and it all hit me what had happened.

Yes, I did the worst thing imaginable to him...unknowingly. I FORGOT to ride my bike and pick him up by the bike racks where he was waiting, instead thinking he'd be on the bus. I hurredly drove to school to get him. When I saw him, he ran to me crying and we just held each other for many minutes, both of us in tears. His coach/school crossing guard had seen him standing by the bikes looking distraught and gave my son his cell phone to call me. (One positive thing, after making up a song to teach him our phone number, I guess he knows that now.) By the time I got there, his teacher was there too.

As we were leaving, I said thank you to his teacher and coach, adding I was so embarrassed and so very sorry. My son doesn't ride his bike normally on a regular basis, and I just completely blanked that afternoon. They both nodded and, without seeming to be judging me, said "it happens."

I'd like to say this is something I could laugh off and realize it DOES happen, but I can't do that. The look on my son's face broke my heart into so many pieces that I was shell-shocked for hours after. He was still crying when we got home, so I put on his favorite show and got him a snack. When he was calm and occupied, I escaped to the next room to call my husband. I cried some to him about feeling like the worst mother in the world and being so angry with myself for upsetting him that way. This is my child. He trusts me to take care of him and always be there for him. And, I was not, for no other reason than my own forgetfulness.

I guess that my son must have been listening to my conversation with my husband. Because, a few minutes later, he looked at me and out-of-the blue said, "Hey, Mom. I just wanted to tell you that I think you are the BEST mom in the WHOLE world" and beamed a smile at me.

It is times like this when you stop berating yourself for just a minute and humbly ask God, how did I get so lucky to have this wonderful child? Then, you promise yourself it will never, never happen again...


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